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Exelon Corporation will provide equity financing for 21 megawatts (MW) of Bloom Energy solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) projects at 75 commercial facilities in California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. The power buyers include new and repeat blue-chip customers, such as AT&T, which will use the fuel cells to power operations at nine sites.
As the first step in a long-term strategic partnership with Bloom Energy, Exelon will finance Bloom Energy projects through Bloom Electrons, a service that allows customers to buy power as a service, rather than purchasing the equipment directly. This is the first investment by an energy company in Bloom Electrons, and it will support the program’s largest commercial deployment to date.
Exelon’s partnership with Bloom Energy builds upon the distributed generation business of Exelon subsidiary Constellation, a leading competitive retail supplier of energy products and services serving more than two-thirds of the FORTUNE 100. The business unit develops, owns and operates distributed generation for retail customers, including onsite solar, emergency generation and cogeneration. Constellation has been active in the distributed generation business since 2007 and will play a key role in the ongoing management of Exelon’s partnership with Bloom Energy.
Bloom Energy Servers use solid oxide fuel cell technology to produce electricity from natural gas with far fewer carbon emissions than other traditional power generation methods.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Credit Suisse was Exelon’s financial adviser, and Morgan Stanley advised Bloom on its partnership with Exelon.
Exelon Corporation is the US’ leading competitive energy provider, with 2013 revenues of approximately $24.9 billion. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Exelon is one of the largest competitive US power generators, with more than 35,000 megawatts of owned capacity. The Constellation business unit provides energy products and services to approximately 100,000 business and public sector customers and approximately 1 million residential customers.
Velocys plc announced that the final investment decision (FID) has been made to proceed with construction of a commercial small-scale GTL plant using its technology. The project is being funded by a joint venture (JV) between Waste Management, NRG Energy (NRG), Ventech Engineers International (Ventech) and Velocys, formed to develop a series of GTL plants in the United States and other select geographies. (Earlier post.)
The plant, which is designed to be profitable on a standalone basis, will be located at Waste Management’s East Oak landfill site in Oklahoma, US. It will provide a commercial reference site for the Velocys technology and will deploy a number of Velocys’ full-scale Fischer-Tropsch reactors.
Purchase of major equipment has begun, with construction and commissioning to be complete, and the plant entering full commercial operation, in less than 24 months.
The JV has entered into all major contracts needed for the project, including technology license, supply and service agreements with Velocys (at market rates), EPC contract with Ventech (lump sum for the modules), land lease with Waste Management, and gas purchase and product offtakes. Further detail concerning the project will be released during a ground-breaking ceremony scheduled for later in the year.
As a minority interest holder in the JV, Velocys’ investment in the East Oak plant is limited to some $5 million, drawn down over the course of construction.
The USDOT will hold its fifth Connected Vehicle PlugFest on 5-7 August 2014, in Farmington Hills, Michigan. PlugFests provide venues for vendor-to-vendor connected vehicle device testing to help ensure that devices and systems meet the base standard requirements and level of interoperability necessary for the Southeast Michigan Connected Vehicle Test Bed Deployment 2014 Project.
DOT began holding PlugFests in January, with the first at Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center, VA. Subsequent events have been in the Detroit area and Pal Alto, CA. PlugFests test Model Deployment 5.9GHz DSRC broadcast communications as well as new peer-to-peer data exchanges between vehicle components and the back-office situation data warehouse.
On 5 August, DOT will host a training session via webinar to provide an overview of the Southeast Michigan 2014 Project, including the document tree, communication security requirements, architecture, and concept of operation.
On 6-7 August, on-site testing will occur. Participants will be able to test their devices’ peer-to-peer data exchange and broadcast mode communications capabilities. Specific message sets to be tested will include:
In addition, the USDOT Connected Vehicle Test Bed team will provide live data from the Southeast Michigan Test Bed through the Situation Data Clearinghouse (SDC). There will be up to nine vehicles, equipped with current generation aftermarket safety devices broadcasting prototype VehSitData messages to the SDC. PlugFest participants will be able to access this live data stream through a subscription to the SDC to test connections, data formats, and other use cases.
The PlugFest training session is open to anyone who is interested in attending. However, the PlugFest testing session is open only to those organizations that have signed the Affiliated Test Bed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and the Amendment to the Affiliated Test Bed MOA.
The focus of the PlugFest is to support those organizations that are developing products, software, and systems that use the Southeast Michigan 2014 Connected Vehicle architecture and infrastructure. Therefore, the event is set up to support these developers, and space is primarily dedicated to testing activities.
The Electric Power Research Institute, 8 automakers and 15 utilities are working to develop and to demonstrate an open platform that would integrate plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) with smart grid technologies enabling utilities to support PEV charging regardless of location. The open platform will simplify and streamline V2G (vehicle-to-grid) communications, enabling PEVs to provide grid services and increasing the overall value proposition of plug-in vehicles.
The goal of this program is to develop a cloud-based, central server that would receive grid requests from a utility—such as Demand Response—and then translate and standardize that request so it could be relayed to all appropriate plug-in vehicles in the designated area. Automakers would be expected to develop and deploy technologies compatible with these smart grid communications.Automakers and V2G The formal collaboration between the automakers, utilities and Electric Power Research Institute began in fall 2012. However, the concept and application of electric vehicle/grid integration has been studied extensively by numerous research groups and automakers for more than 10 years. Some examples of recent work by automakers on this include: General Motors is developing OnStar-enabled Smart Grid solutions, and in 2012 announced it would open up its APIs to third-party developers. (Earlier post.) GM has been working with companies such as TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. to research, test and develop potential real-world solutions such as Demand Response. (Earlier post.) Leveraging IBM’s cloud-based PEV Enablement platform, Honda demonstrated a PEV’s ability to receive and respond to charge instructions based on grid conditions and the vehicle’s battery state. (Earlier post.) Phase II of the project expanded the use of this network to schedule charge times based on the needs of the driver and preferred rate structures, including the use of renewable energy sources for charging. In addition, in December 2013, Honda supplied an Accord Plug-In Hybrid with a bi-directional on-board charger to the University of Delaware’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. In conjunction with the university and NRG Energy, Honda will investigate the potential of V2G technology to benefit the grid, vehicle owners and society. (Earlier post.) In March 2014, Honda launched Honda Smart Home US at the University of California, Davis, which seeks to investigate the integration of the home with distributed renewable energy, the smart grid and the electric vehicle. (Earlier post.) BMW announced its Smart Charging App for mobile devices in June 2014 following the launch of the BMW i3 electric vehicle. (Earlier post.) The BMW Smart Charging App makes it possible for BMW i customers to automatically identify the best rates and times for charging their electric vehicles at home. Also working with BMW is IPKeys Technologies, a strategic partner in the Federal Government, Commercial and Energy sectors with expertise in the development, integration, and deployment of Demand-Response technology and a board member of the OpenADR Alliance. Ford Motor Company is collaborating with a number of companies on MyEnergi Lifestyle showcases. (Earlier post.)
The platform will allow manufacturers to offer a customer-friendly interface through which PEV drivers can more easily participate in utility PEV programs, such as rates for off-peak or nighttime charging. The portal for the system would be a utility’s communications system and an electric vehicle’s telematics system.
Participating auto manufacturers are American Honda Motor Co.; BMW Group; Chrysler Group LLC; Ford Motor Company; General Motors Co.; Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc.; Mitsubishi Motors Corporation; and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.
Utilities and regional transmission organizations participating and supporting in the software and hardware development and demonstration include DTE Energy Company; Duke Energy; PJM Interconnection LLC; CenterPoint Energy, Inc.; Southern Company; Northeast Utilities; Southern California Edison; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; San Diego Gas & Electric; Commonwealth Edison; TVA; Manitoba Hydro; Austin Energy; Con Edison; and CPS Energy.
The platform enables integration across multiple communication pathways, such as automated metering infrastructure (AMI), home area networks, building energy management systems, and third party entities that aggregate energy management services for commercial and industrial power customers.
For the first phase of the program, EPRI and the participating companies will work to develop a standardized Demand Response solution. Demand Response is the signal a utility sends to an energy management company communicating the supply and demand needs to the electric grid. That company then communicates with designated plug-in vehicles in the area to manage their energy consumption in accordance with the grid’s needs.
Sumitomo Electric will develop the core platform technology on the first phase of the project.
This software platform aligns with the Vehicle Grid Integration (VGI) Roadmap Initiative of the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Independent System Operator, as well as conforming with standards set by IEEE, IEC/ISO, and SAE, and Open ADR Alliance, making it globally applicable.
A key aspect of the platform’s benefits will be giving customers flexibility and choices. It can help the PEV customer determine the value of using their parked vehicle as a grid resource, and help the industry develop a convenient, user-friendly customer interface. We see this as the foundation for future developments to integrate PEVs with the grid.—Dan Bowermaster, EPRI manager of Electric Transportation
Additionally, it could increase service reliability to customers by helping to mitigate the impact of strain on the grid during peak periods and could contribute to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Utilities might benefit by better managing their loads and avoiding upgrades to infrastructure—savings that can be passed onto utility customers.
As the electric grid evolves with smarter functionality, electric vehicles can serve as a distributed energy resource to support grid reliability, stability and efficiency. With more than 225,000 plug-in vehicles on US roads—and their numbers growing—they are likely to play a significant role in electricity demand side management.
Researchers anticipate that grid operators in the future may call on electric vehicles in sufficient numbers to contribute to grid reliability by balancing solar and wind generation, mitigating demand charges and providing ancillary services such as frequency regulation and voltage support.
UK transport operator Go-Ahead Group has ordered 500 electric flywheel Gyrodrive systems from GKN Hybrid Power for use in buses. The Gyrodrive Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) system (featured in Audi’s LeMans-winning R18 e-tron quattro) harvests braking energy normally lost as heat.
When the driver brakes, a traction motor on one of the axles slows the vehicle, generating electricity at the same time. This electricity is used to charge the flywheel, spinning it at up to 36,000 rpm. When the driver accelerates, the system works in reverse. The energy is drawn from the flywheel and converted back into electricity to power the traction motor, which helps accelerate the bus back up to speed, generating fuel savings of more than 20% at a significantly lower cost and weight (60 kg, 132 lbs) than battery hybrid alternatives. Useable stored energy is 1.2MJ, with peak power of 120kW.
The GKN Hybrid Power Mk4 eFES is an electrically driven flywheel energy storage system. The motor is a three-phase permanent magnet motor. The magnets are provided by GKN Hybrid Power’s MLC (Magnetically Loaded Composite) material which has the advantage of being both very low on eddy current losses and safe as there are no discrete magnets rotating at the very high rotor speeds of the flywheel to contain in the event of a failure.
The Mk4 eFES has a separate inverter so that the flywheel and inverter combination connect directly to the vehicle’s DC bus. Due to the high speed of the rotor a vacuum is required to reduce friction losses and this is provided by a flywheel mounted vacuum system. An oil cooling system provides direct cooling to the stator coils and the inverter to increase power density.
Key benefits of low mass, compact packaging, electric only coupling to vehicle drive, and low cost point make the Mk4 eFES system a turn-key retro-fit solution. The retro-fit and OE systems are branded as Gyrodrive. The Mk4 eFES also benefits from internal contactors on the DC bus to disconnect from the rest of the hybrid system and real time insulation monitoring of the HV circuit.
The new agreement covers the supply of the complete Gyrodrive system, including the GKN Hybrid Power flywheel as well as GKN’s advanced EVO axial flux electric motor (earlier post), a GKN-designed and manufactured gearbox, and installation. The system is designed to last for the life of the bus, eliminating the need for any battery changes.
Development of the Gyrodrive system was earlier supported by a £2,184,500 (US$3.7-million) grant from the UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB), awarded in 2012. The system was developed by Williams Hybrid Power, GKN, and GKN-Evo, with Go Ahead group performing a fleet trial on a number of different bus types to validate the system performance.
Earlier this year GKN announced the acquisition of Williams Hybrid Power from Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited to form GKN Hybrid Power, which is focused on delivering complete hybrid solutions across multiple vehicle, power and industrial markets. (Earlier post.)
In April, GKN and its partners received a £7.6-million (US$13-million) grant as part of a £15.6-million (US$26-million) project to apply the Formula One KERS technology for use in public transport, initially city buses. Other consortium members include bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited, technology experts at Coventry University and S&S Windings, a leading niche technology SME. (Earlier post.)
Following successful trials on buses in London, Go-Ahead intends to utilize the technology in cities it serves across the UK, initially in London and Oxford.
This is an important milestone for GKN Hybrid Power. We’ve worked in close partnership with Go-Ahead throughout the development of this innovative technology and it’s very exciting to move into the production phase. The fact that we are using the same groundbreaking technology that helped Audi win at Le Mans for the past three years to improve fuel efficiency in the public transport sector also shows what great innovation there is in the UK’s engineering sector.—Philip Swash, CEO GKN Land Systems
GKN Hybrid Power is based in Oxfordshire, with final assembly taking place in a new facility at GKN’s site in Telford. The Gyrodrive technology is being further developed for other mass transit markets including trams, construction and agricultural equipment.
ABS, a leading provider of global marine classification services, has been chosen to class the world’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) carrier, which has been ordered by Pelayaran Bahtera Adhiguna, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s state-owned power company Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PT PLN).
PT PLN’s inaugural CNG ship, which will be dual-classed with the Indonesian class society Biro Klasifikasi Indonesia, will be 110 meters in length and offer sailing speeds of 14 knots. It is designed to offer a nominal CNG capacity of 2,200 m3 and will fly the Indonesian flag.
The ship is expected to transport natural gas from Indonesian fields in East Java to communities on the island of Lombok, benefiting relatively remote communities that are not economically feasible to supply by pipeline.
The CNG ship was designed by China’s CIMC Ocean Engineering Design & Research Institute.
ABS has long been a leader in the safe transport and handling of gas, having classed the world’s first LNG carrier, the Methane Pioneer in 1959, and subsequently responding to the evolving technology demands of the largest and most modern units currently in service.
In China, it was the class of choice for the first ten large LNG ships (147,000 m3 and 172,000 m3) built in the country’s yards. ABS has also worked on several CNG carrier concepts, supporting them through the approval in principle process or to final approval.
The contract award comes just months after ABS unveiled its new Global Gas Solutions team, a multi-disciplinary group of technical specialists formed to respond to the rapidly escalating number of gas-related projects, including LNG and LPG transportation, the use of LNG and LPG as fuel and a growing number of FLNG projects.
Intelligent Energy Holdings plc has signed a further two-year, multi-million pound development agreement with a Japanese volume automotive OEM. The agreement will focus on the development of Intelligent Energy’s differentiated fuel cell engine technology towards commercialization in applications that are targeted to include compact cars and two-wheeler vehicles, as well as in range extender units for low-emission light vehicles.
UK-based Intelligent Energy provides its fuel cell engine technology in the 2kW to 100kW+ range to automotive OEMs through a licensing model, with two mainstream Japanese OEMs amongst its current client base. This approach combines Intelligent Energy’s expertise in efficient power technologies with its OEM partners’ well-established broad channels to market.
In 2012, Intelligent Energy and Suzuki formed the joint venture SMILE FC to develop and manufacture air-cooled fuel cell systems for a range of industry sectors including automotive. The joint venture provides Suzuki with access to Intelligent Energy’s Air Cooled Fuel Cell technology, through partnering and licensing. (Earlier post.)
We are delighted to announce this further agreement, which highlights our growing role in the Japanese car OEM market. It also marks a further, positive step in our relationship with this valued Japanese customer. It is always important to work in an industry for some years when working with any partner, and that is even more so in Japan: thankfully, we have worked with Japanese car manufacturers for more than seven years. Japan is taking the lead globally in the adoption of fuel cell engine technology for automotive use. It is a very exciting place to do business for us.—Dr. Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy