Alevo, a battery manufacturing aspirant with mysterious sources of big funding, has moved a little closer to commercial deployment of its sulfur-based inorganic lithium-ion electrolyte chemistry.
The first commercial deployment for the big battery is in the city of Lewes, Delaware, where it will enable the "repurposing of a retired oil-fired generator building once operated by the Lewes Board of Public Works."
Alevo is hoping to sell ancillary services into the PJM regulation market, while providing improved power quality, reliability and flexibility to the Lewes electric grid system -- a grid that already receives power generated from a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine and has a high per-capita penetration of solar.
But the deployment will have to wait while the battery is checked out by Parker Hannifin for "factory acceptance testing" ahead of its deployment in Delaware.
Parker Hannifin has commissioned more than 85 megawatts of grid-tied battery energy storage systems throughout the world and has been a partner of energy storage deployment leader AES for years. Testing at Parker Hannifin will include "live simulation across a variety of applications including peak shifting, frequency regulation and spinning reserve," according to a release. Once testing is complete, the battery system will be shipped to the city of Lewes, Delaware, population 2,747."
The first product, the basic Alevo system increment, is a 2-megawatt/1-megawatt-hour assembly. Alevo claims its inorganic electrolyte is "non-flammable and offers extreme long life and stability."
In October 2014, Alevo unstealthed with claims of a new lithium-ion battery that could beat the competition in grid applications. As GTM has reported, Alevo claims its sulfur-based inorganic lithium-ion electrolyte chemistry has achieved 50,000 complete cycles without failure or loss of power density, while operating at close to room temperature. These claims have not been fully verified by a third party.
In February 2015, Alevo said it would financially back 200 megawatts' worth of energy storage projects as part of its agreement with Customized Energy Solutions to bring its battery systems to U.S. wholesale energy markets. Alevo is looking to provide the batteries, as well as to own and develop the projects, Jeff Gates, Alevo’s VP of operations, told GTM in a previous interview. The firm had suggested it would produce up to 100 of its 2-megawatt, 1-megawatt-hour modules before the end of 2015.
As GTM's Jeff St. John reported, Alevo is "taking on both the technology risks of an unproven battery and the market risks of investing in projects that must earn their money back over a decade or more of successful operation. That’s a risky proposition for investors -- but it’s certainly one way for a new battery technology to prove its worth a lot faster than would otherwise be possible."
Alevo will have to compete against giant lithium-ion battery manufacturers like Panasonic, Mitsubishi, LG Chem, Samsung and Saft, as well as Tesla Motors, which is building a $5 billion Gigafactory in Nevada to churn out both vehicle and grid-scale batteries using Panasonic's lithium-ion cells.
The company employs approximately 200 people at its Concord, North Carolina facility and close to 300 people worldwide.