The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Xtreme Power Guns For Electric Car, Neighborhood Energy Storage Markets

Xtreme Power, which has shown considerable success in selling its energy storage systems and services to utilities, is now eyeing the electric car market and developing not just a battery system for it but the entire drivetrain.

The Texas company plans to announce the new drivetrain later this year, said its founder and chairman, Carlos Coe, during a video interview at PV America West in San Jose last month (see below). The aim for the electric car market brings the company back to its roots: Xtreme Power’s technology came from a joint venture between Ford Aerospace and Tracor in the 1990s for an electric car market that later fizzled.

“The goal is not just to throw another battery out there but to put out a better drivetrain,” Coe said.

Xtreme Power, backed by venture capital, is targeting larger vehicles such as SUV and trucks, fuel guzzlers where greater power savings can be achieved more quickly with more efficient technology. The company plans to sell its drivetrain for after-market conversion of vehicles initially while it works on convincing carmakers to use its technology in their assembly lines, Coe said.

The company actually has posted some information about a drivetrain on its website, though it’s not easily found. There is a private video that requires a password to access, but below it is a PDF file that lists some specs.

Founded in 2004, Xtreme Power has been targeting the emerging market of grid energy storage, and it has lined up quite a few energy storage projects with utilities who want to figure out ways to integrate renewable energy into the grid. With the growth in wind and solar energy, utilities are worried about the impact of these energy sources – which don’t produce a steady stream of power in all hours – on the stability of the grid, which must maintain a balance of supply and demand to work well. The output of a solar power project can be more variable than wind, Coe noted.

Customers that have turned to Xreme Power include Duke Energy and a 36 MW system next to a wind farm that will come online later this year, Xcel Energy and a 1MW project for a solar technology testing center, several wind and solar farm developers with projects in Hawaii and a project announced just yesterday: a 3MW project with Kodiak Electric Association in Alaska to store power from a wind farm.

Xtreme has been deploying its energy storage systems in the field for several years now, and that has given it operational data to show its performance and to some extent the reliability of its technology. It recently opened an office in Beijing to target the grid storage market there, Coe said.

China has been a magnet for battery and other energy storage technology developers because of the government and their state-owned utilities are keen on using energy storage to complement the country’s own growing amount of renewable energy.  Lithium-ion battery makers such as A123 Systems and Boston-Power all are targeting the Chinese. Boston-Power has gone as far as moving the bulk of its operation, including manufacturing, to China.

Xtreme’s technology is a bit of a mystery. It’s never disclosed publicly the core materials used for the battery cells, which the company’s website describes as using alloys such as lead, copper and tellurium. It’s a “dry cell” because the cells are electrically isolated from one another inside a battery pack and contains an electrolyte that isn’t a liquid, gel or paste, Coe said. Liquid electrolytes can be conductive and flammable as they react with other components of the cell, a problem that has inspired a number of startups such as Seeo to develop solid-state electrolytes.

Xtreme Power also has designed a current collector, which is used to ferry electricity out of the cell, that is made with ballistic-grade fiber and topped with a “special alloy," Coe said.

“If you stabilize the electrolyte you get a very predictable, stable battery response,” Coe said. “All cells are electrically isolated from each other. It’s a very different than any other types of batteries that I know of.”

While the battery technology has invited speculations, Coe said the bulk of the company’s technical expertise is actually found in the software and hardware that control the performance of the overall battery system and its integration into the control systems of a utility or power project developer.

The company makes money in several ways. It sells the equipment to customers who can operate the systems themselves or hire Xtreme to do it. It also leases the equipment or sells service agreements that has Xtreme owning and operating the systems for customers.

A 1.5 MW system (not just the batteries) retails for $1.6 million, or roughly $1,000 per kilowatt, Coe said. That price point makes Xtreme’s equipment competitive with a peaking power plant that is turned on to supply power during peak demand, Coe said. This system can produce 1 MWh of energy, and the retail price for replacing the battery pack in the system is $360,000, or $360 per Kilowatt-hour, Coe said.

Later this year, Xtreme plans to launch smaller systems for “community storage” or even energy storage for homes and businesses. Home and business owners may want to bank the solar electricity from their rooftop panels, and utilities are looking at using energy storage to help them regulate the grid’s health and provide backup power during blackouts. Xtreme will be launching systems from as small as 5 KW to hundreds of kilowatts each, Coe said. Utilities are looking for systems in the 25 KW range.

 

 

 

RELATED ARTICLES

Rooftop Solar Panels

Hypocrisy? While Buffett Champions Renewables, His Company Fights Rooftop Solar

Mark Chediak, Noah Buhayar and Margaret Newkirk, Bloomberg Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power.
Japan Microgrid

Born from Disaster: Japan Establishes First Microgrid Community

Junko Movellan, Correspondent Although Japan's Fukushima prefecture is most commonly associated with the 2011 disaster due to the nuclear power melt-down, Miyazaki prefecture, located north of Fukushima, suffered from the largest death toll, close to 10...
Renewable Energy Finance

Clean Energy ETFs Are on a Tear

Eric Balchunas, Bloomberg Green investing used to be synonymous with losing money. But while the S&P 500 Index is up 2 percent this year, and the MSCI All-Country World Index is up 5 percent, clean energy ETFs have double-digit re...

Wheels, Towers and Trees: Unconventional Renewable Energy Technologies in the Pipeline

Andrew Williams, International Correspondent A number of companies around the world are developing novel technologies in an effort to grab a slice of the global renewable energy market.  Although many of these technologies are simple incremental improvements to e...
Ucilia Wang is a California-based freelance journalist who writes about renewable energy. She previously was the associate editor at Greentech Media and a staff writer covering the semiconductor industry at Red Herring. In addition to Renewable En...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

EU PVSEC 2015 (European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition)

The EU PVSEC is the largest international Conference for Photovoltaic re...

Sponsor/Exhibitor: MIREC Week 2015

Solectria, Pillar, and Variadores together are co-Silver Sponsors! Come ...

COMPANY BLOGS

EU PVSEC 2014: Call for Papers Receives Great Response

More than 1,500 contributions apply for presentation in AmsterdamScienti...

EU PVSEC 2014 extends its Scope

Added focus on application and policy topicsAbstracts for conference con...

The Question Trilogy

    It’s crucial to learn what your prospect needs from...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS