Duke Energy & ITOUCHU Corp. To Test Reusing EV Batteries for Other Applications

Posted on November 24th, 2010 by

Reusing electric vehicle batteries for additional applications, new DOE approved loans for natural gas cars, and details about a smart wall system.

Reusing EV Batteries for Other Applications

Duke Energy and Tokyo-based firm, ITOCHU Corp. have agreed to work together to evaluate and test second-life applications for electric vehicle batteries. The EV batteries that can no longer charge to 80 percent of their original capacity can be replaced. However, these batteries can be reused for supplemental home supplies, storing renewable power and providing a fast-charging power source for electric vehicles. The companies will sift through and analyze data from Ener1 lithium ion batteries in 80 Th!nk plug-in cars.

DOE Approves Loan for Car that Runs on Natural Gas

Secretary Chu at the Department of Energy has announced a $50 million conditional loan commitment to finance the development of a six-passenger MV-1, which is a car that will run on natural gas. “This project represents an investment in innovation that will create new jobs, promote the use of alternative fuels, and help our nation maintain its competitive edge in the automotive industry,” said Secretary Chu. Because it runs on natural gas, the vehicle will have fewer emissions. Another perk embedded into the vehicle is its wheelchair accessibility. The MV-1 is the only light-duty car that meets or exceeds the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Solar Absorbing Walls

RavenBrick, an eco-technology company, has conceptualized a system by which homeowners can reduce their energy consumption by adjusting the amount of heat and sunlight that penetrates their home. The idea is to use a smart wall system, embedded with nanotechnology, to slow down the heats well as phase-change material that permits the wall to transfer the warmth of the sun’s heat from the afternoon into the evening. The smart wall has been termed the RavenSkin and it will convert sunlight into infrared radiations that are directed inward according to the home owner’s needs.

Dual-Axis Tracking System Could Increase Efficiency

Even though a large investment has been put into increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic cells, dual-axis tracking systems generate far more power than fixed arrays by continually positioning the PV array so that the incident angle of solar energy is 0°.  By moving the PV array so that it is aligned with the sun through the day, a large boost in power is attained with a small increase in cost.  With the 40% increase in power from each panel, you can achieve the same power output with 29% fewer panels, which in turn reduces overhead; the return investment is generally augmented because of this.  One of the drawbacks of most dual-axis trackers has been the pole-mounted design.  Most tracking systems are pole-mounted in a manner similar to satellite or radar dishes.  Because the array is hung from a single point, gravity is always trying to pull them over and their wind load factor is quite high.  This requires heavy-duty mechanisms to hold and position the array and massive, heavy concrete foundations, heavy-duty earth moving equipment and cranes to set the array in place − all increasing the cost of installation.

SunEdison Connects 70-MW PV Plant

Worldwide solar energy provider, SunEdison has interconnected a 70-megawatt photovoltaic power plant in the Northeastern Italian town of Rovigo. The arrangement is now the largest single-operating PV solar power plant in Europe. Moreover, the project was completed and interconnected in merely nine months. The Rovigo plant first began as a joint project between First Reserve and SunEdison. Now that it is completed, most of the executing will now be done by SunEdison. The power plant is expected to generate sufficient energy to power over 16,000 homes and prevent 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent to removing 8,000 cars from the road.

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