Friday, April 29, 2016

Alevo: Battery Innovator

As described in the April 26th post “Ormat Spreads its Wings,” Alevo Group, SA has teamed up with Ormat Technologies (ORA:  NYSE) to build and operate a ten megawatt energy storage project in Georgetown, Texas.  The two companies signed a joint development agreement in March 2016, that requires both to contribute their respective expertise and assets to the project.  Alevo is contributing its GridBank inorganic lithium ion energy storage system to the partnership and Ormat will provide the engineering and construction services as well as other required equipment.

Alevo’s GridBank could be just the right solution for the expanding wind power generation industry in Texas.  Wind power even at its best can be sporadic in output, successful and profitable connection to the grid requires storage capacity.  Alevo touts the system for storage when two much power is produced, holding the power in abeyance until too little is produced.  The storage system allows the wind power generators to deliver a relatively level amount of electricity to the grid thereby avoiding potentially damaging fluctuations in voltage and frequency.

A lithium-ion battery is used in the GridBank system.  However, it is not the usual LI technology.  Instead Alevo has acquired an ‘inorganic’ lithium-ion technology using a sulfur-based electrolyte.  The innovation leads to battery cells that are non-flammable and have a longer life.  Alevo has invested in a manufacturing factory in North Carolina to package the cells into two megawatt ‘Gridbank’ units.  The facility is expected to have a production capacity near one hundred 2 MW units.

Alevo does not have a lengthy track record in using its lithium-ion battery technology for grid-scale applications.  At first look the pact with Ormat looked like it would be mostly to Ormat’s benefit, bringing the geothermal industry player and an outsider in energy storage in through the front door.  However, with joint effort to penetrate the energy storage market in Texas, Ormat could be giving Avelo the break it needs to prove GridBank in grid applications.

Alevo needs allies.  It already has numerous competitors.  Besides the long list of well established producers of conventional lithium-ion batteries like LG Chem, Panasonic and Samsung, if Alevo wants to break into energy storage there is an entirely new set of adversaries.  AES Corporation (AES:  NYSE) and NRG Energy (NRG:  NYSE) are just two of the largest players with energy storage solutions already on the market. 

Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.

1 comment:

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