Tesla and PG&E are working on a massive ‘up to 1.1 GWh power pack battery system

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For the past few months, Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have been teasing a giant battery project that would dwarf even the company’s 129 MWh Powerpack project in Australia.

Today, we learn that Tesla is working with PG&E on a massive battery system with a capacity of “up to 1.1 GWh” in California.

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Where 3 million electric batteries will go when they retire

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GM, Toyota and BYD are part of a potential $550 billion industry.

The first batches of batteries from electric and hybrid vehicles are hitting retirement age, yet they aren’t bound for landfills. Instead, they’ll spend their golden years chilling beer at 7-Elevens in Japan, powering car-charging stations in California and storing energy for homes and grids in Europe.

Lithium-ion car and bus batteries can collect and discharge electricity for another seven to 10 years after being taken off the roads and stripped from chassis—a shelf life with significant ramifications for global carmakers, electricity providers and raw-materials suppliers.

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The death of the internal combustion engine

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“HUMAN inventiveness…has still not found a mechanical process to replace horses as the propulsion for vehicles,” lamented Le Petit Journal , a French newspaper, in December 1893. Its answer was to organise the Paris-Rouen race for horseless carriages, held the following July. The 102 entrants included vehicles powered by steam, petrol, electricity, compressed air and hydraulics. Only 21 qualified for the 126km (78-mile) race, which attracted huge crowds. The clear winner was the internal combustion engine. Over the next century it would go on to power industry and change the world.

The big end

But its days are numbered. Rapid gains in battery technology favour electric motors instead (see Briefing ). In Paris in 1894 not a single electric car made it to the starting line, partly because they needed battery-replacement stations every 30km or so. Today’s electric cars, powered by lithium-ion batteries, can do much better. The Chevy Bolt has a range of 383km; Tesla fans recently drove a Model S more than 1,000km on a single charge. UBS, a bank, reckons the “total cost of ownership” of an electric car will reach parity with a petrol one next year—albeit at a loss to its manufacturer. It optimistically predicts electric vehicles will make up 14% of global car sales by 2025, up from 1% today. Others have more modest forecasts, but are hurriedly revising them upwards as batteries get cheaper and better—the cost per kilowatt-hour has fallen from $1,000 in 2010 to $130-200 today. Regulations are tightening, too. Last month Britain joined a lengthening list of electric-only countries, saying that all new cars must be zero-emission by 2050.

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A 100% renewable grid isn’t just feasible, it’s already happening

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New study debunks myths claiming renewables can’t be integrated into electric grid.

The ongoing debate around whether it’s feasible to have an electric grid running on 100 percent renewable power in the coming decades often misses a key point: many countries and regions are already at or close to 100 percent now.

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Electric aircraft could soon become an industry standard

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The aviation industry is on the verge of a major shift in propulsion, experts say.

This story was originally published by Flying Magazine.

As part of Siemens Innovation Day held recently in Chicago—created, in part, to highlight the company’s progress to date in the world of electric and hybrid electric aircraft—the German industrial giant offered a first U.S. look at its electric GA aircraft, a Magnus LSA fitted with a 55-kW Siemens electric motor.

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Tesla bids for a new world’s largest Powerpack battery system in Colorado

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After breaking a few energy storage records with its battery system projects in Australia, Tesla looks to come back to the US to build a new world’s largest Powerpack battery system in Colorado.

Earlier this year, we reported on Xcel Energy, an electric utility company operating across the Midwest, Colorado and several other states, requesting bids for major renewable energy and storage projects in Colorado.

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48-volt systems could be the new standard in the future’s vehicles

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Electric cars won’t only be good for the environment — they’ll be good for your power-hungry tendencies, too. As per a new report from the New York Times, companies are looking to turn away from the traditional 12-volt systems to provide the juice for these cars of the future, and looking to a 48-volt standard instead.

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A stretchable battery, powered by sweat, could revolutionize wearables

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Whether it’s the AA batteries that go in TV remotes or the lithium-ion batteries found in smartphones, you probably have a pretty definite image that springs to mind when someone mentions “battery.” That could soon change, however, based on research coming out of the Binghamton University in New York, where scientists have developed a stretchy, textile-based, bacteria-powered bio-battery that could one day be used to power wearable devices. In demonstrations, the battery was shown to be able to exhibit stable electricity-generating capabilities even after repeated stretching and twisting cycles.

 

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Elon Musk has finished building the world’s biggest battery in less than 100 days

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Elon Musk looks to have delivered on his promise to build the biggest lithium ion battery in the world in an effort to help South Australia with its crippling energy problems. “100 days from contract signature or it’s free,” Musk tweeted at the time, in a deal initially negotiated over Twitter. Musk is well ahead of schedule (a rarity for Tesla!), with the 100MW battery set to be energised and tested in the coming days, according to a press release from the local state government.

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