EV Grid Pioneers Vehicle-to-Grid Technology
As the electric vehicle market grows, developing charging infrastructure isn't the only challenge in preparing for the gradual transition. Grid operators will need to be prepared for the overload of electricity requirements from all those vehicles.
Tom Gage, who advanced plug-in vehicle technology at AC Propulsion (ACP), is working on that transition. To manage the complications between plug-in vehicles and grid operations, Gage will employ the concept of vehicle-to-grid (V2G), using vehicle batteries as a source of energy storage and vehicle operating systems as a means of managing that storage. Under his start-up, EV Grid, Gage hopes to streamline those interactions.
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For EV Grid, “the big commercialization opportunity,” Gage explained to Green Tech Media, is “vehicle-grid integration,” because “everybody knows if ten people on the block go out and buy a LEAF and they all plug it in at 6 p.m. when they get home, they’re going to have a problem.” Many see this as a liability, Gage said, “but if you manage it properly, it becomes an asset.”
According to Gage, there are three ways to use batteries as grid storage. A warehouse full of batteries can run under the total control of a utility provider, or when the batteries get older and are replaced, the remaining storage capacity they provide can be recycled and used for grid storage. The third alternative is vehicle-to-grid, in which two streams of the battery are being extracted concurrently—one when the car is being driven and the other when it is charging and the battery is on call to the grid.
For electric car owners, that would mean paying less for a battery while sharing it with a utility, essentially creating two revenue streams. Sometime in May, the company will demonstrate a pilot project with the University of Delaware and NRG Energy, including V2G trials and sample business models. If it works, Gage is confident that V2G will benefit the EV market, making the vehicles look more economical.
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.