Howard Kuo says he can take his expertise in managing power in electronic devices to storing power for the grid.
Kuo is CEO of Silicon Standard, which has sold power management chips, software and other technology to the electronics industry. Now the company will get into mass power storage for the grid.
In July 2008, the U.S. consumed 400 terawatt hours of electricity. In April, it consumed 305 terawatt hours. Thus, there were 95 terawatt hours of electricity, by Kuo's calculation, that were (or should have been) produced in April that weren't used. Better to store it.
"We have a lot of capacity," he said.
True to private company tradition, he's not providing many details, other than to say Silicon Storage will combine a high-tech battery with proprietary technology. But his focus on power management is interesting. It highlights that there is more going on in storage than just having a fancy battery. If you have fine-grained controls, you conceivably could used a more traditional battery for storage.
Storage, of course, is the favorite mantra of VCs these days. Storage is the Google of greentech – it wants to invest in storage companies, but hasn't seen any opportunities, etc. The demand, along with the growing investments in smart grid, wind and solar, make the possibility of storage breakthroughs a very real possibility in the next few years.
In other storage notes this week, EPRI's Robert Schainker told us that compressed air storage probably makes the most economical success. It costs $700 a kilowatt hour and adding additional kilowatt hours costs around $2.
Deeya Energy began to ship its flow batteries and will install the first ones this month. They cost $4,000 a kilowatt hour. Deeya will try to lower that to $1,000. General Electric outlines how it views the storage market.
And we caught wind of projects underway in Tennessee and California with super secretive Bloom Energy. Bloom is apparently erecting a 25-kilowatt fuel cell in California (a project GTM Research analyst Daniel Englander discovered) and a 100-kilowatt on in East Tennessee.
The Tennessee sysetms will be at the Electric Power Board HQ in Chattanooga and will be close to a final version that Bloom Energy plans to introduce in the broader market later this year, according to CEO KR Sridhar, quoted in a local paper.
The project is funded through a federal appropriation as well as support from the Electric Power Board's research and development organization, according to Joe Ferguson, head of special projects for the Enterprise Center, a Chattanooga-based economic development organization. He expects delivery of the equipment "before the end of June."