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A centralized power generation, distribution, and system management delivers economies of scale. Additionally, a grid is designed to supply voltages at largely constant amplitudes. Very good for base load, somewhat challenged for peak demand.


In a synchronous grid all the generators are connected in parallel and run not only at the same frequency but also at the same phase. Generation and consumption must be balanced across the entire grid, because energy is consumed almost instantaneously as it is produced. Energy is stored in the immediate short term by the rotational kinetic energy of the generators. Governors adjust generators when grids are subject to extra load (frequency slows); lighter load across the grid shows as a higher frequency and generators reduce output (Automatic Generation Control systems in place). Electric utilities across regions are interconnected multiple times for improved economy and reliability.


Distributed generation - As generation becomes more common from rooftop solar and wind generators, the differences between transmission (long distance, from generation source to wholesaler) and distribution (connecting to individual customers, being domestic or industrial) grids will continue to blur. Demand response is a grid management technique where retail or wholesale customers are requested either electronically or manually to reduce their load. Currently, transmission grid operators use demand response to request load reduction from major energy users such as industrial plants - what happened in SA.


Batteries will allow for energy to be stored for longer than the immediate short term (rotational kinetic energy of the generators); these must be seen as beneficial, especially if they can be drawn upon to supply 'peaking power' that has always been regarded as expensive and prone to stresses.


How much flexibility is there in a "smart grid" that can manage the new paradigms? Probably quite a lot, if the various redundancies are incorporated AND budget spend made to adapt to the new system layout. IE Is battery power to be fed into the transmission or distribution grids? If so, who gets what and who pays for it.


Musk is doing the easy bit; getting distribution smoothed and supply assured will be the difficult bit. (Haven't even looked at difference between high voltage DC and transformed AC for local distribution, nor the integration with /need for inverters and the like for distributed generation sources, and how that is incorporated.) New emerging smart grids will be able to use two-way flows of electricity and information to create automated and distributed advanced energy delivery networks .... but someone has to design and regulate it, and guess who is going to end up paying for all this?

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Another in the series about how China has the contra-Midas touch, as in everything it turns its attention to turns to shit...


... whilst Elon attracts all the attention the Chinese are attempting to flood the market with lithium batteries. So expect boom and bust in the battery markets in the next couple of years.




Competition is good but China's tactic of using its national financial muscle to destroy competitors is, I suggest, destructive (this is not constructive destruction by way of innovation, this is akin to trench warfare from WW1).


As an aside here is a graphic about a number of US car brands that failed. Interesting that several of them happened in the 50's, at a time that the US was in the process of the greatest road-building project of all time (well, up until the Chinese began theirs earlier this decade) and the US car sector was driving the US economy (remember, what is good for the US is good for GM and vice versa). When things are booming there are as many pitfalls as when things are dire.



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When Moody's downgraded China in May

in a rebuke of China's debt-funded growth model, Moody's said on Wednesday economic reforms were moving too slowly and excess credit had imperiled the financial system. It questioned Beijing's ability to rein in credit, while at the same time maintaining high levels of economic growth
the unstated reality is exactly as always - picking winners, subsidised loans, XS gearing because it is 'govt guaranteed' - to undercut rational competitors and gain market share/ dominate.


I'm 'looking forward to the Great Wall Battery, or is that the Great Wall of Batteries'

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Betting The Farm (And The Planet) On Alan FinkelÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¾Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢s Big Battery Adventure

By Geoff Russell on July 9, 2017





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Roskill: Batteries Spark Dynamic Change in Graphite Markets


Published: July 10, 2017 4:02 a.m. ET


Graphite demand has long been shaped by trends in steel, but this is set to change as lithium-ion battery applications surge ahead to become the No. 1 graphite market by 2026.Roskill's new report Natural and Synthetic Graphite: Global Industry, Markets and Outlook to 2026, was published in May 2017 and includes comprehensive data on producers and consumers of graphite as well as in-depth analysis and forecast prices for the next ten years.


Traditional steel-based markets include electrodes for electric arc furnace (EAF) steel making (currently the major market for synthetic graphite), refractory furnace linings (the major market for natural graphite), foundry sands for ferrous casting and steelmaking recarburisers.Rising production of crude steel in an industrialising China previously supported graphite growth but as China reaches peak steel output, global steel production has slowed and growth is expected to average just 1-2%py to 2026.


Elsewhere, graphite suppliers are buoyant with optimistic forecasts for growth in emerging electric vehicles (EV) and energy storage system (ESS) markets. The large size, high performance lithium-ion batteries used in these applications actually require far more graphite than lithium. As EV and lithium-ion ESS penetration rates rise in China and the rest of the world, Roskill forecasts total global graphite demand in battery applications to rise by 16-26%py to 2026.


Cities worldwide are coming under increasing pressure to cut pollution levels and EVs could provide an answer.Their uptake is being encouraged with impressive automotive electrification targets and new incentives worldwide. Tesla is ramping up lithium-ion battery production at its US 'Gigafactory' and is expected to announce a second factory to supply Europe later in 2017. Other large lithium-ion battery plants under development include those of BMC in Germany and LG Chem in Poland (both of which are planned to open in 2017), Samsung SDI in Hungary (which could open in 2018), SGF Energy in Sweden and a rumoured plant to be shared between Jaguar Land Rover, BMW and Ford.


Natural and synthetic graphite compete for use as a lithium-ion battery anode material, with China dominating the supply chain for both. Primary synthetic graphite is manufactured from petroleum coke on demand from the consumer with strict specifications. Since the late 2000s, China has produced an increasing amount of spherical graphite via the high level processing of natural flake graphite, which now competes with synthetic graphite for use in lithium-ion batteries. The process has a high cost of production, uses environmentally harsh reagents and results in low yields of 50-70%. Despite the high cost, spherical graphite is typically more price competitive than primary synthetic graphite, although synthetic graphite is still more widely used in China thanks to the prevalence of lower cost secondary synthetic graphite, which is sourced as a waste material from graphite electrode manufacture. Synthetic graphite prices have also fallen in recent years as a result of the weakening electrode market; prices are expected to strengthen again as an increasing amount of steel scrap availability encourages China's transition to EAF steel production methods.


Production of spherical graphite is currently confined to China because of cost and environmental concerns. Even here, flake graphite processing plant inspections are carried out frequently to improve environmental operating standards.Chinese production of flake graphite fell by around 30% in 2016 with the latest round of temporary closures.


China will continue to control lithium-ion battery supply chains over the next decade. China is the largest producer of synthetic graphite, flake graphite, spherical graphite, lithium-ion battery anode materials, anodes and the batteries themselves. Consolidation of the Chinese flake graphite market continues, with the largest anode materials manufacturer, Shenzhen BTR New Energy Material, now backwardly integrated into flake graphite production. A number of potential flake graphite producers outside of China are developing less environmentally damaging methods of spherical graphite production in an attempt to establish a supply chain outside of China but have yet to prove these methods commercially.


In January 2017, China withdrew its 20% export tax on exports of natural graphite in line with moves in other mineral industries following World Trade Organisation criticism of its system of export control. Although China accounts for around 70% of natural graphite shipments, this withdrawal has had negligible impact on the already low price of graphite through the first half of 2017. Graphite prices are expected to rise in coming years as demand begins to rise rapidly from the battery sector.


China's current high levels of overcapacity and stocks are expected to meet even the most robust demand forecasts for graphite in the short term as production levels increase from existing Chinese producers.Whether supply can meet demand in the long term, to 2026, depends on the ability for new producers worldwide to bring their graphite projects on-stream. In mid-2017, around 30 projects outside China had advanced to scoping study or beyond with a total planned capacity of 1.35Mtpy, over 1Mtpy of which could come from Africa. Syrah Resources plans to begin production of flake graphite in Mozambique in 2017, followed by a ramp up to full capacity of 380ktpy.


Major changes are happening to the structure of the synthetic graphite industry as poor performance in electrodes has led to capacity closures in Europe, Japan and North America, while new plants are opening in the emerging Asian market.An increasing amount of remaining capacity is being given over to lithium-ion battery powder production. In October 2016, the Japanese lithium-ion battery anode material manufacturer Showa Denko agreed to purchase SGL Carbon's synthetic graphite electrode business. Then, in February 2017, Imerys Graphite & Carbon acquired Nippon Power Graphite of Japan, which has a patented CVD coating technology for the production of lithium-ion battery anode materials. The largest synthetic graphite producers currently include: GrafTech International (USA), Fangda Carbon New Material and Sinosteel Engineering & Technology (China), Showa Denko Carbon (Japan), SGL Group (Germany), Graphite India, HEG (India), Energoprom Group (Russia).


The largest existing producers of natural graphite are almost all in China, including the state-owned amorphous graphite producer South Graphite and flake graphite producers Luobei County Yunshan Graphite Mining, Aoyu Graphite Group and Jixi Changyuan Mining, among many others. Nacional de Grafite is also a major existing producer of flake graphite in Brazil.



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A useful site - Electropaedia - Battery and Energy Technologies


Energy Storage Applications - The Challenges


The electricity utility company's task is to provide an electricity supply which at all times matches the customer demand and in most countries their performance is regulated by law. Regulations include strict safety standards and very tight tolerance limits on the voltage, frequency and continuity of the supply as measured at the customers' premises.

Complying with these requirements is one of many challenges for the generating and distribution companies because they must satisfy a fluctuating customer demand, over which they have no control, from resources which themselves may fluctuate in an uncontrolled and unrelated





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Industry needs 40 more gigafactories, VW says

Company sees huge shortage of batteries by '25



July 10, 2017 @ 12:01 am


EHRA-LESSIEN, Germany ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ A massive shortage of lithium ion battery cells could plague the global car industry in the coming decade if capacity equivalent to 40 Tesla gigafactories is not added by 2025, according to estimates from Volkswagen Group.


For that reason, German supplier Robert Bosch is considering whether to manufacture battery cells. If so, it may choose solid-state technology where there is no electrolyte liquid to transport ions back and forth when charging and discharging energy. One advantage is greater safety should a crash compromise the structural integrity of the cell.


"We are in the middle of development work. That means we are producing new results every week," Bosch Mobility Solutions chief Rolf Bulander told Automotive News last week. A decision would likely be made at year end at ​ the earliest.


One solution that could help reduce industry constraints could be a next generation of battery technology. The greater the energy density of the cells, the fewer factories are needed to produce the same capacity.


Here Volkswagen electrochemical engineers continue to look at ways to make energy-rich battery cells using lithium sulphur or more advanced lithium air chemistry sufficiently safe and durable for automotive uses. A rule of thumb is that a cell's life cycle should last 10 years.


Eichhorn predicted, however, that it could be 15 years before either technology is commercially available. Nevertheless he said Volkswagen has been researching electrically powered cars for 50 years and is convinced that the time for electric drive has arrived, regardless of the comparatively low amount of cell supply.





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Elon Musk's plan to install a giant battery to help fix a power crisis in South Australia will come at a "big price" with installation costing 60 percent more than alternative open cycle gas plants, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd.


Tesla won a tender Friday to build what the entrepreneur said is the world's largest lithium-ion battery system capable of providing enough power for more than 30,000 homes. Little guidance or estimates were given on the cost of supplying the unit, sparking debate over the appropriate mix of power generation in the mainland state with the highest levels of clean energy.


Given current costs "the reality is South Australians are paying a big price to stabilise their energy supply, after a rapid build-up in solar and wind power generation," Wood Mackenzie analyst Saul Kavonic said in an emailed note. Solar and wind account for about 40 percent of the state's power generation............



who'd have thought?



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Courtesy of CSA Global, a copy of - Industrial Minerals review 2016. Page 54 - 56 covers graphite - below is extract of global outlook





Global natural graphite production is expected to

be similar to 2016, when 1.19 Mt (1.3 million st) were

produced (USGS).


While most markets are forecast to remain static,

growth is expected to come from the battery anode and

expandable graphite markets. The battery market for

natural graphite used in spherical graphite has been

forecast by various researchers to grow at a compound

annual growth rate of around 15 percent, from a base of

60 kt (66,000 st) in 2016 to 220 kt (240,000 st) by 2025.

The conversion rate of natural graphite to spherical

graphite is about 50 percent, which means that there will

be 50 percent of the feed graphite available for other



Between traditional markets, battery markets and

expandable graphite markets it may reasonably be

expected that additional demand may be in excess of

300 kt/a (330,000 stpy) flake graphite by 2025. n

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Lithium ion batteries, as the name implies, work by shuffling lithium atoms between a battery's two electrodes. So, increasing a battery's capacity is largely about finding ways to put more lithium into those electrodes. These efforts, however, have run into significant problems. If lithium is a large fraction of your electrode material, then moving it out can cause the electrode to shrink. Moving it back in can lead to lithium deposits in the wrong places, shorting out the battery.....



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