DiscoverBeyond Lithium
Beyond Lithium

Beyond Lithium

Author: BioZen Batteries

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The success of renewable and green energy (like wind and solar) requires a diversity of energy storage options — beyond lithium-ion batteries. What will those alternatives look like? Each episode, we bring you a new perspective from a leading authority in batteries and energy storage focused on expanding the electrical grid with up-and-coming technology. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
26 Episodes
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📊 What is impact, and how is it quantified? Why are 87% of clean energy projects severely delayed or failing? If current electricity consumption is 4000 TWh/year, what will it be in 2050 (hint: a lot more)? What is the biggest challenge in decarbonizing that increased demand? And what is BioZen's possible impact? For answers, we're bringing back our guest from Episode 4, Dr. Daniel Howard, CEO and cofounder of Quantum Energy Inc, to join BioZen Batteries' CEO Nate Kirchhofer. Daniel, and Quantum, is a big advocate for standardizing the way that impact is quantified through industry-standard lifecycle assessments (LCA). Ultimately, this enables data-driven evidence to justify permitting and policy decisions in an otherwise murky benefits-vs-negatives ecosystem. "Oftentimes those overlooked costs, i.e. the [environmental and health] externalities, can be far larger than the infrastructure costs. And simply by quantifying them and including them in our decision making frameworks, we can make decisions that have much better impact and much lower total costs for everyone—and help to create a society, and ideally a new iteration of capitalism, that's more equitable and more sustainable," says Daniel. BioZen also contracted Quantum to run an impact analysis for our technology (read the article here), so stick around to hear Daniel summarize the results of that analysis, and think about how you can apply this to your clean technology! Recorded 16 May 2024. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠⁠⁠⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠⁠⁠⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like what we do, please consider a monthly contribution.] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🚀 “It’s not rocket science,” someone once told Mike Berger, Stryten Energy’s Director of Product Engineering. "Yes," he agreed. “It’s probably even a little more complicated than rocket science because really it takes chemistry, electricity, materials, and electrochemistry.” Listen to this episode to understand what he’s talking about in discussion with BioZen’s CEO Nate Kirchhofer. Stryten Energy is a US manufacturer of high-quality lead (Pb) batteries, lithium (Li) batteries, and vanadium (V) redox flow batteries (RFBs)—as well as chargers and performance management software. Their variety of Industrial Pb battery production plants are concentrated in the US Midwest, whereas their Innovation Centers are located in Ottowa (Li-ion) and Denver (VRFBs). Overall, with 2.5 million sq ft of manufacturing space and 2500 employees, Stryten cranks out 14 GWh of energy storage products per year, putting them at #3 in the US, and they address four major market segments: Essential Power: telecom, utilities, microgrids, residential solar, security Motive Power: 90% of it is forklifts, as well as chargers and performance management tools Transportation: batteries for automotive e, truck, SUV, heavy duty, agriculture, marine Military and Government: submarines, micro grids, combat vehicles, ground logistics Mike brings a wealth of insights from his 30 years of experience in Pb acid batteries. We learn about tradeoffs in performance / cost / design decisions to make a battery that meets customer requirements at a good value, and how Pb batteries compare to Li-ion. We also learn about some of the biggest challenges in scaling up energy storage to meet the demand needed in the next 10-20 years: “I think the scale is by far my biggest concern for alternative energy storage, regardless of which chemistry. And that's why I believe that all chemistries are going to be needed because I think they're all going to serve a purpose,” he says, concluding that “Pb chemistry [is] available, affordable, recyclable, safe, reliable and well-understood. We shouldn't dismiss Pb technology just because of its age. I think there's a great opportunity to optimize Pb for these new challenges that are before us.” Stick around for more facts about Stryten and the Pb industry: 90% of Pb batteries used & sold in the US are made in the US. Over 99% of Pb batteries are recycled, and 100% of the Pb that Stryten uses is recycled. The plastic, and in some cases even the acid, can be recycled. Pb has historically been a health risk, but the immense history of innovation, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment now prevent exposure. <5% of Li batteries are recycled. By contrast, Pb batteries at >99% show a path for value retention and a circular recycling economy. Pb batteries were perfected in the field. In comparison, Li-ion batteries were designed and perfected in the lab. Because of this, lab R&D for Pb batteries will improve efficiency, cycle life, and applications. The Pb industry is old, but they have committed to novel pre-competitive joint R&D with national labs, such as the recently awarded $5M in DOE funding to establish the Consortium for Lead Battery Leadership in Long Duration Energy Storage including Stryten and 7 other BCI-member Pb-battery companies. Remote EV Fast Charging stations may be a great application for Pb batteries due to their safety and reliability. Stryten's Li-ion and VRFB verticals (acquired in the past few years) makes them technology-agnostic and able to deliver a solution to a given customer application (though current bulk of their production is Pb) Recorded 17 January 2024. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠⁠⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠⁠⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes.] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🏭 For the electric utilities, what is the most important metric for energy storage technology? What is the rule of 17%? What is dunkelflaute?! For answers, we turn to Kieran Claffey of Southern Company in discussion with BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer. To add some weight to Kieran's opinion, consider that as of 2021, Southern Company is the second largest utility company in the US, serving 9 million gas and electric customers in 6 states and delivering electricity to 120,000 square miles of territory. The Department of Energy targets a $0.05/kWh levelized cost of storage (LCOS) as a key performance parameter for energy storage technology. Kieran emphasizes that utilities instead employ a comprehensive approach considering approximately 30 parameters, including geographic flexibility, energy density, power density, and lots more. The most important? Reliability, and CapEx. Kieran highlights the utilities' need for safe and cost-effective 10-hour duration batteries, which is (and will likely continue to be) beyond lithium-ion's capabilities, even though Li-ion will serve mobile applications and durations <6 h. This insight is possible because Kieran is a subject matter expert in energy storage at Southern Company: his experience ranges from startups making microwatt (1e-6 W) solid lithium batteries, to now where he considers gigawatt (1e9 W) projects, all within the context of regulations like NFPA 855. This enabled him to publish a peer-reviewed manuscript recently, entitiled "Hazards of lithium-ion battery energy storage systems (BESS), mitigation strategies, minimum requirements, and best practices." In that paper the authors emphasize the importance of proper spacing to prevent battery fires, and dispels myths about the frequency of Li-ion battery explosion events: the probability is about 1 in 1400 (at worst), making these systems at least an order of magntude safer than the common claim of "1 in 100 fail." We get a few predictions about the future energy storage mix: that Li-ion and sodium-ion will dominate short-duration storage (0-6 hours), while thermal energy storage and flow batteries may be suitable for medium durations (6-12 hours). For longer durations (12-100 hours), options include pumped hydro, compressed air energy storage, and new battery technologies; hydrogen will likely be one of those, but it seems that a mature hydrogen economy is still a couple decades away due to costs, and everything pales in comparison to the 47 days 😲 of fossil fuel stock in the US. Stick around for a little career advice within the broader goal of contributing to decarbonization—whether through new energy storage technology or even fossil fuels—and tidbits about the burgeoning cleantech scene in Georgia ($20B invested for 20,000 jobs in the southeast in the last 4 years). Power on. Recorded 29 November 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes.] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🐝 What is >100X more energy dense (33 kWh/kg) than Li-ion batteries (0.3kW/kg), and why is it so hard to store it at room temperature? What is a naturally-occurring gas that can be uniquely compressed into a non-toxic, non-flammable liquid at room temperature? And, how is beekeeping like energy storage cleantech?! To answer these questions, we're joined by Cullen Quine. He provides insights on his team's work, both as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and as Co-Founder of Activated Energy (unaffiliated with NREL), in conversation with BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer. At NREL, Cullen's team focuses on addressing the challenges associated with hydrogen (H2) storage: H2 has low volumetric energy density as a gas, and to increase that energy density, it must be liquefied, which requires energy and an extremely cold temperature of -423°F (-253°C or 20 Kelvin). The main issue then arises during the transfer between containers: to cryogenic liquid H2, everything looks scorching hot, so it flash boils, leading to significant boil-off losses. His solution employs a solid-state material to absorb the gas as it boils off, allowing for recapture and reuse, mitigating losses. This is critical research because H2 has many advantages as a storage medium, including the separation of Power and Energy (which conventional batteries fail at), but there are not good materials for storing it at ambient temperature (where Li-ion currently shines) despite proficiency storing at both cryogenic and hot temperatures. At Activated Energy (one of the 27 companies in CalSEED Cohort 6 along with BioZen), Cullen's team is working to revolutionize energy storage with a system based on compressed liquefied carbon dioxide (CO2). The system discharges energy by releasing the high-pressure liquid CO2 through a turboexpander and then storing it in a low pressure solid state medium. This technology may be particularly appealing for urban environments due to its safety that addresses concerns associated with deploying energy-dense devices near residential areas. Hang around for some discussion of efficiency, market segmentation, NIMBYism, and some advice from Cullen for individuals interested in entering the renewable energy or clean tech sectors. Hint: it's all about the people! Recorded 14 November 2023. BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🌡 What's the difference between a heat pump and a heat engine? What is synchronous inertia? What are the four horses pulling the chariot of a startup company? Why does a technology need its own sandbox? For answers, we're joined by Ben Bollinger, a career early-stage tech startup pro, PhD scientist, and currently VP of Strategic Initiatives at Malta Inc.—where they're working on molten salt thermal energy storage for grid-scale synchronous long duration energy storage (LDES). See Ben's slides here. Ben tells BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer that Malta's mission is "to enable the broader deployment of intermittent renewables and help with the energy transition decarbonization." The discussion ranges from the California "Duck Curve" and why we need to time-shift energy generated during the day to when it's needed at night, to Malta's electricity-in-electricity-out molten salt thermal energy storage, to considerations of marginal costs and separation of Power and Energy (a hallmark of LDES), to "policy and remuneration" being the biggest challenge for alternative energy storage.  Stick around to hear about the present load following capability of gas and coal plants and how incentives are moving LDES towards that role (internationally!) and away from its problematic classification as either a power plant (while discharging) or end-user load (while charging). This is critical because renewable wind and solar generation plants cannot turn their power output up and down to follow people's consumption of electricity—necessitating complementary storage. "And that's where technologies like Malta come in, that can provide those same synchronous inertia, short circuit current, resiliency, and the other grid stability attributes that really complement the clean kilowatt hours that are produced by solar and wind," says Ben. That's also what the recently-formed LDES Council is advocating for.  The conversation finishes with some international trends in energy storage policy, Malta's recent funding announcement with Siemens Energy as a strategic investor, the 9-figure cost scales of 100 MW scale energy projects (which is beyond the scope of VC) that requires consortia of companies to achieve rather than single startup companies, and some startup journey advice from Ben. Get in touch with Malta at info@maltainc.com. Recorded 19 Dec 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🚗 What is the most recycled product in the world, with 99.7% being collected into the recycling stream? Where does it get used beyond the starter / lighting / ignition functions in your car? Why does it have such a bad rap, and why should you in fact be excited about it? To answer these questions, we bring in Matt Raiford and Alyssa McQuilling from the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI) to talk with BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer. CBI is a global research organization, with over 130 member organizations, dedicated to improving lead battery performance across various applications. The consortium is committed to both applied and fundamental pre-competitive research, working on projects ranging from evaluating new lead battery technology in residential installations to in-situ neutron diffraction studies of lead battery electrodes. While lead batteries may not match lithium-ion in energy density (nor need to), they excel in robustness, safety, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness, particularly in stationary applications like telecom and broadband backup systems. Lead batteries pose lower fire risks, have well-established end-of-life plans, and maintain a fully established circular economy from over 100 years of research and manufacturing.. The discussion moves to a few unique lead battery projects such as microgrids, solar/battery-powered tractors, and the unique harvesting of (typically undesireable) electrolyzed hydrogen from the battery as a source of energy. Looking at the future, we discuss the challenges and potential of energy storage, underlining the necessity for better performance, particularly in terms of cycle life and total energy output: By 2030, energy storage systems will need to exist on the terawatt/terawatt-hour scale, necessitating a diverse mix of technologies, including lead batteries. Recorded 28 Nov 2023 [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠⁠⁠⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠⁠⁠⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
💡 Can you trademark a sound? Why can you only patent "non-obvious" inventions? Who decides what is non-obvious? What is Enablement and how does the Supreme Court's ruling on it affect cleantech?! For answers to these questions and lots more, today's episode features Brendan Serapiglia, PhD and Jason Feldmar—partners and intellectual property (IP) attorneys at Gates & Cooper LLP—in discussion with BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer. Brendan's technical background is in Materials Physics and he focuses on high-tech and university clients, whereas Jason's technical background is in Computer Science with a focus on software inventions as well as Gates & Cooper's Trademark portfolio. Tune in to learn first what exactly a patent or trademark is, how they are different, reasons to apply for them, and how they're strategically valuable especially in the context of high-tech and clean energy sectors. A recent Supreme Court ruling in a case with Amgen has influenced Enablement ("to enable any person skilled in the art . . . to make and use the [invention]," or describing how to make and use the full scope of what is claimed). From this ruling, patent applications will likely have more stringent requirements for describing how to make and use the full scope of claimed inventions, especially in fields like chemistry and alternative energy where you're dealing with an "unpredictable art." The discussion also touches on so-called "101 issues" (35 U.S.C. 101 requirements), also known as what constitutes patentable subject matter; patenting abstract ideas or natural phenomena is difficult, as is defining and claiming cleantech and software inventions in ways that satisfy these legal requirements. The human art of crafting patent claims is another focal point of the discussion. Defining claims in a manner that convinces a patent examiner and captures a wide range of potential infringements without overstepping the actual scope of the invention is vital for both enforcing and making them sufficiently broad to be commercially valuable. Often seen as controversial players in the IP landscape, Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) hold patents but don't necessarily implement the technologies themselves, often agressively litigating. Patents serve as both a "sword" and a "shield" in business strategy, offensively to sue for infringement or defensively to deter lawsuits and encourage cross-licensing. Recent market trends have shifted focus in patent and trademark filings toward battery technology: In 2023, over 1000 Li-ion patents were published, whereas long duration energy storage (LDES) mechanisms like flywheels, flow batteries, supercapacitors, thermal storage, etc were all at ~100 per year—an order of magnitude less. Read: non-lithium energy storage is a potential greenfield market opportunity. The discussion highlights that IP is a critical component of business strategy, especially for startups and universities: IP assets can be crucial for attracting investment and establishing a competitive edge in the market. Additionally, the conversation covers the implications of H.R.4346 Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act, 2022 legislation aimed at boosting technology development in underserved communities. This act is part of a broader trend where the government is encouraging job creation and technology development through strategic collaborations, often involving universities feeding their technology into their local ecosystems through startup spinout and IP. Recorded 8 November 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠⁠⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠⁠⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
♾ That's right: Invinity, with a V for vanadium. How many square meters does it take to set up 1 MWh of vanadium flow batteries? For the answer, we turn to Matt Harper, CCO and Co-founder at Invinity, in discussion with BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer. Invinity Energy Systems was formed from the merger of RedT and Avalon in 2020 and focuses on vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) for large-scale, long duration energy storage (LDES) solutions. VRFBs directly complement renewable energy projects, with superiority over lithium-ion batteries in longevity, cycle life, and operational flexibility. According to Matt, Invinity makes VRFBs more accessible and practical by adopting a modular, plug-and-play design that is 100% ready to go off the factory floor, significantly reducing deployment time and increasing adoption. With over 1200 of their "VS3" units in the wild (the largest fleet of flow batteries of any company), Invinity has a constant stream of data for continual performance improvement and understanding of the varied demands of LDES technologies. The conversation continues to Invinity's experience in the challenges of site-specific installations as well as the benefits of their merger during the pandemic, which provided resilience through dual operational supply chains as well as reaffirmed that people make the technology work. Matt comments that his career goal is to "work on hard, meaningful problems with smart, dedicated people ... It's the people who I'm working alongside to make this stuff happen that makes the journey worthwhile." We hear some about Invinity's next-generation product, Mistral, developed in collaboration with Siemens Gamesa. Mistral targets the wind energy sector with a modular design offering improved scalability and cost-effectiveness, and will be deployed for a variety of projects, including collaborations with Everdura in Taiwan, PNNL in the U.S., and several rural electrification projects. Recorded 28 September 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🐻 The capybara is nature's ultimate collaborator, existing peacefully in diverse global ecosystems. That harmonious disposition is exactly what CapyBara Energy seeks to bring to the energy storage market with their aqueous supercapacitor technology. How? CapyBara's Founder & CEO Matt Millard tells BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer that it's possible because their technology is uniquely "Sustainable, Affordable, and Scalable." And let's be honest, all energy storage should strive for those three characteristics! At $20/kWh capex, CapyBara "supercaps" might be hard to beat on cost, not to mention that their raw materials are carbon waste, they won't catch fire, they have an effectively infinite lifecycle, they are adaptable to intermittent generation, and they are possible to discharge for a huge range of durations from 2-100+ hours—hardly the "delicate flowers" that certain other energy storage technologies might be. Matt has a ton of experience scaling energy storage technologies from lab to commercial scale, so stick around to hear some of his tips for that process, as well as some fresh, surprising insights from the DOE Office of Electricity Energy Storage Program Annual Meeting and Peer Review. One key theme: >4 hours of storage. And, there's one facinating, validated metric from that meeting: Take a guess at just how much it costs (in $/kWh) to decommision a Li-ion battery at end-of-life (EOL). The answer was bigger than expected! (Ref: Dai et al. Ensuring Knowledgeable End-of-Life Considerations in Stationary Storage Applications) Contains one sentence of explicit content. Recorded 26 Oct 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
0️⃣ What's your favorite zero-emission load following dispatchable resource to enable green baseload? What even *is* green baseload?! For this episode, Mark Wanamaker of Lockheed Martin Energy Storage joins BioZen Batteries' CEO Nate Kirchhofer to discuss one possible answer to that question: Lockheed Martin's GridStar™ Flow Batteries! This technology was acquired from MIT-spinout Sun Catalytics in 2014 and has been under development since then, and the aqueous electrolytes can't catch fire, don't degrade based on use case or state of charge (SOC), and don't need thermal management, all serving to lower the cost. Lockheed Martin was also recently awarded a 1 MW / 10 MWh project at Fort Carson Army Base run by the Department of Defence Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center Construction Engineering Research Lab (DOD ACE ERDC CERL), an encouraging pilot microgrid project. Flow batteries are typically thought of as long-duration (>6 hour discharge) energy storage, but Mark makes the case that they are even economically viable for replacing gas peaker plants or combined cycle plants too. Mark shares a key insight that energy storage system developers need to simultaneously consider bankability, flexibility, future adaptability to changing markets, and separation of Power and Energy capacity to tailor a storage system—in addition to more conventional metrics like levelized cost of storage (LCOS) or capex measured in $/kWh. The DOE thinks flow batteries need to get under $0.05/kWh, and we think we can! Recorded 6 September 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at hello@biozenbatteries.com, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🔥 Is it just a glorified toaster? Not quite: At more than 1500 °C (2700 °F), the carbon blocks inside Antora's unique thermal batteries are resistively heated (like toaster coils heat bread), storing energy glowing-hot at >1/4 the temperature of the Sun's surface. Our guest for this episode, Leah Kuritzky (Antora's Head of PV Operations) tells BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer that the stored thermal energy can be used on demand, directly as heat for industrial processes (think anything from boiling water to melting steel), or converted back to electricity using thermophotovoltaic cells (which is Leah's expertise at Antora), all without burning fossil fuels. Just like any other battery, including Li-ion, you charge Antora's battery with electricity. If it's renewable-energy-generated electricity—the cheapest form of primary energy in the world—it's going to be intermittent due to natural fluctuations in wind and sunshine. And that's where Antora shines: soaking up excess power when it's overgenerated and/or cheap, and then delivering it back 24/7 on demand. "It's really a beautiful marriage of technology and economics to tackle climate change," she says. And this is critical because 30 percent of all global emissions come from industry, with industrial heat alone accounting for 10 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Stick around to hear about Antora's recent pilot near Fresno, CA and learn more about Leah's career path from energy efficient lighting (LEDs) to energy storage, guided by a focus on environmental impact, sustainability, and climate change. She has advice for anyone looking to pursue cleantech or make a jump to a new career. Recorded 26 September 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🍣🐟 "Operating the electric grid without energy storage is sort of like operating a sushi restaurant without a refrigerator." Tune into this episode to find out what Otoro Energy's CEO Michael Marshak means by that in conversation with BioZen Batteries CEO Nate Kirchhofer. Then, stick around to learn about Otoro's key innovation in higher-voltage, non-flammable, highly-stable, aqueous-soluble metal-chelate flow battery electrolyte liquids that just might be so non-toxic you could drink them (not that you should). For flow batteries, Mike points out, we need to think about the total power capacity, the duration that you can operate at that power, and also the location for storage—not to mention being able to combine all of those things together with cost, safety, scalability, raw materials abundance, efficiency, and more, to make a complete economic picture. Also, because of the decoupling of power and energy (just like how a car's engine and gas tank provide the cars's power and energy, respectively), there are scalability advantages for flow batteries. But, one of the clearest needs is lower-cost electrolyte liquids because the cost of the dominant incumbent, vanadium, has fluctuated dramatically enough to undermine long-term massive deployment. It's also worth innovating not just on the core chemistry for energy storage, but the commercialization and path to market as well: even though the utility markets that want to see $0.05/kWh LCOS are huge, that low payout could undermine profitability. Islands, microgrids, and remote installs might be more well suited—but then again they are difficult to access—so maybe the answer lies in places like Texas during the summer time? Burning man? "One of the challenges I think with batteries is that they're fundamentally boring. If they're working properly, you don't notice them until they fail." How do you market something like that? Tune in to find out! Recorded 25 August 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
⚡ Which metal was used as far back as 1799 when Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic pile, the original battery? Hint: It's still in use today in single-use alkaline batteries, and it's gaining adoption for safe, high-cycle, high-efficiency, high-energy-density grid scale batteries too. For this episode, Onas Bolton joins BioZen CEO Nate Kirchhofer to dive into how Octet Scientific is making these metal batteries better: modifying their aqueous electrolyte composition with Octet's organic (carbon-based) Octolyte™ chemical additives that improve cycle life, shelf stability, and charge transfer efficiency—among lots of other advantages—at just ~1% concentrations. Stick around to hear some trends from Octet's 30+ customers, the interplay between grant funding and private finance (they're gearing up for a Series A raise, by the way), and their transition from an R&D company to a manufacturing company. Recorded 31 July 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
💯 Pop Quiz! Define the following: EPCs, SCADA systems, upregulation, downregulation, frequency regulation, spinning reserves, timeshifting, and dispatchable assets. Didn't get them all right? That's okay! We've brought in Mahesh Morjaria of Terabase Energy to get you up to speed in conversation with BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer. We're going to dive into just what an engineering marvel the grid is, and what it means to install something "on the grid." Over the last 25 years, 1.1 Terawatts of solar photovoltaic power generation has been grid integrated, and society needs to 10X that (at least!) over the next 25. You'll notice that a baseload of Terawatts combines to Terabase—the company name—and they have two major initiatives to make this happen: (1) Modern digitalization tools, and (2) construction automation, because while solar panels are constructed with 21st century tech, they're still installed with 19th century techniques. Stick around to learn about how new solid-state power electronics interconvert DC and AC signals, and how those same electronics enable photovoltaics to talk to batteries in solar + storage plants so that they actually provide grid services more effectively than conventional generators. In the end, Terabase and solar + battery system developers are agnostic to battery systems as long as they can be controlled to deliver the appropriate output to the grid. Recorded 4 April 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
♻️ What does "sustainability" mean to you? How do you put a price on the safety of a battery? If we want society to adopt renewable energy, why is there so much NIMBYism about it? To answer these questions, and more, clean energy expert Ilja Pawel calls in from Austria to join BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer. Ilja is an independent consultant and star communicator on renewable energy generation and storage technologies, and you can find his writings and talks both online (e.g. LinkedIn) as well as at conferences (such as Intersolar). The discussion covers the "hard" and "soft" costs of energy storage technologies, how to evaluate different technologies (such as Li-ion vs. flow batteries), the urgency of energy storage deployment, and how to positively re-orient your perspective on renewable energy. Ilja has some gems of wisdom for everyone in the renewable space! Recorded 31 March 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🦠 You've heard of two major domains of life: Bacteria (think E. coli) and Eukaryotes (like yeast, plants, animals, etc). Do you know what the third major domain is? (Hint: it's hidden in the company name, Electrochaea.) Do you know how it stores energy? Tune into this episode where Doris Hafenbradl joins BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer to discuss these ancient microorganisms—the biocatalysts at the heart of Electrochaea's technology. Their process uses renewably-sourced hydrogen gas (H2) from electrolysis to convert waste carbon dioxide (CO2) into stored energy in the C-H chemical bonds of bio-generated methane molecules (CH4). The discussion ranges across the scalability, intermittency tolerance, and global manufacturing benefits of this approach; details of Electrochaea's 1, 10, 25, and 75 MW reactor scales; the path to converting 3M tonnes of CO2 to CH4 (equivalent of 50+ TWh capacity!) by 2030; how bio-methane integrates into existing infrastructure; and even a little advice for the renewable energy technologists out there. Recorded 28 March 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🧪 What are the critical chemicals that need to be scaled for energy storage right now? In 5 years, what battery chemistry is going to be winning in the marketplace? We're changing the pace with two guests to answer these questions: Dr. Tyler Farnsworth and Tom Borak, who join BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer and bring their perspective from MERGE Chemistry—the custom/specialty chemical manufacturing division of Inorganic Ventures (IV Labs)—that can scale production of a wide array of active and additive materials for many different energy storage technologies. Their chemistry-agnostic view yields a unique perspective on the supply chain, 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, battery applications, and other trends in the energy storage space. (Note: here's a link to the USGS Critical Minerals publication that Tyler mentioned during the discussion: https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201127). Recorded 27 April 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
🤺 How competitive is the energy storage market? On this episode, Cofounder & CTO of VoltStorage Michael Peither joins, as always, BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer to discuss this, the size of the need (in TWh), and perspectives on battery development cycles. VoltStorage is a leading manufacturer of vanadium redox flow batteries (V-RFBs) for agriculture and industrial applications requiring "Commercial" batteries (8-12+ hour discharge), and they have also established in-house pilot research in iron redox flow batteries (Fe-RFBs) for so-called "Long Duration" batteries (12-48+ hours discharge) that are critical for integrating renewable wind & solar into grid baseload capacity. The discussion further differentiates VoltStorage from other iron-battery companies ESS and Form Energy: ESS focuses on 12 hour storage, while Form is targeting the 100+ hour markets. VoltStorage's batteries achieve a cost of €70/kWh (~€100/kWh installed), and have 1500X the energy density of pumped hydro, which gives them hope they can capture 10% of the 12-48+ hour storage market. Recorded 22 March 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
💦 Battery immersion cooling! What does that mean? Today's episode brings James Werbe of Wayside Energy for a conversation with BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer. As Wayside puts it, they're "creating a future to look forward to" starting with their novel thermal control approach for sodium ion (Na-ion) cells and how it helps with safety, reliability, sustainability, and scaling. We dive into just what immersion cooling entails, social NIMBYism vs. excitement for renewable energy, and making energy storage "smarter" through IoT interconnection protocols. Plus, we discuss how to think about engineering and community as tools for good, and how policy such as California's self-generation incentive program (SGIP, up to $1000/kWh!) help with that outcome. Recorded 16 March 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
💤 Have you ever heard of "hibernation mode" for a battery? For this episode, BioZen's CEO Nate Kirchhofer is joined by Mark Higgins of Redflow (ASX:RFX), a global company founded in Australia in 2005 (IPO 2010) that manufatures Zinc Bromine (Zn-Br) flow batteries. Tune in to learn from Mark just what Redflow's unique battery hibernation entails—not to mention their Zn-Br batteries' advantages in safety, depth of discharge, round trip efficiency, wide operational temperature range, and more. We dive further into Zn-Br use cases, Redflow's cumulative delivery of 3.2 GWh energy to customers through hundreds of systems installed across 10 countries and 5 continents, and forecasts for the next 5 years. Mark has a long history in renewable energy, so he brings a unique perspective as the head North American representative of a global battery manufacturer, giving insight into the true positive impact of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act on renewable energy project financing and domestic manufacturing objectives—as well as momentum in Li-ion as the incumbent energy storage technology. Recorded 13 March 2023. [BioZen Batteries produces this show as part of the Clean Power Media Group at cleanpower.media. If you would like to interact more, please send us an email at ⁠hello@biozenbatteries.com⁠, write a comment, like, follow, share, or even leave us a voice message on your favorite episodes. If you like our content, please support production with a recurring monthly donation here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support] --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beyondlithium/support
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