Monday, April 30, 2012

Why the A123 Systems battery explosion in the test lab in MI is a good thing

I think another market exists for the A123 Systems, Inc. lithium ion battery power plant packs that are used to power electric vehicles.  If you didn't already hear about the explosion in the lab in MI, you may as well hear about it here.  While many may see the explosion (and I should mention an employee was injured, which is awful news) as a major setback, I see a major advancement in the safety of the technology coming from what is learned from such tests.  The company must have built these test facilities to put the battery power plant under incredible stresses to simulate operating in extreme environments of a vehicle, and determined that a recall was in order to protect from a faulty housing that causes volatile gases to leak out and ignite which caused the explosion according to news reports published last week.   While the battery maker's market is clearly electric vehicles, the industrial application of lithium-ion based power packs installed into a safer housing units in buildings, sheds, or on homes could be a viable solution to the noisy standby generator market as well.  This welcome capability puts the promise of solar energy even more closer to home for all of us with noisy gasoline powered generators that deliver cheap and reliable back up power.  Such a solution makes solar energy an even more viable option. 

While this technology is clearly in early stages of development, solar companies are said to be experimenting with different battery back up systems as an interesting alternative to the noisy standby gasoline, natural gas/propane or diesel back up generators that many businesses and homes currently use as standby backups.   I'm convinced we are that much closer to having safe continuous power at home from the technology offered by A123 Systems, Inc.

Related stories to A123 Systems, Inc. are below:

  • Over-Stimulus, EV Indifference a Lethal Mix for Battery Companies [National Legal and Policy Center]
    (Mon Apr 23 00:00:00 UTC 2012)
    The Obama Administration has over-stimulated the electric vehicle battery market, as companies inspired by the flow of federal stimulus support don't have enough customers for their products. The government promise of a coming electric car (and truck) revolution, thanks to moves such as President George W. Bush's signature to approve a $7,500-per-electric-vehicle tax credit and Congress's passage of the Recovery Act, instigated a buildup of capacity and inventory for batteries. Now putrid EV sales - including the newly introduced Ford Focus electric - have put their battery makers in peril, according to the Detroit Free Press. "A looming shakeout in the industry," the newspaper reported on Sunday, "which would likely include plant closures and layoffs, is also likely to touch off a fierce debate over whether federal and state government officials made a major error by using more than $1 billion in grants and tax credits to spur massive investments that are not yet needed." The latest ...
  • Infinite Taxpayer Money Needed for Electric Truck Company's Survival [National Legal and Policy Center]
    (Mon Apr 23 00:00:00 UTC 2012)
    Despite a new report out of the United Kingdom that says the future of the business is bleak without government subsidies, a three-year-old unprofitable electric truck company that received $32 million in U.S. taxpayer stimulus plans to raise more money via an initial public offering. Kansas City-based Smith Electric Vehicles was launched in January 2009, and despite its lack of track record and the inexperience of its leadership, the Department of Energy awarded the company $10 million in August 2009, and an additional $22 million in March 2010, for an electric truck demonstration program. The company was little more than a spinoff of a failed U.K. operation with the same name, owned by a troubled parent company called The Tanfield Group. In July 2008 - largely because of Smith-UK's shortcomings - Tanfield's stock price "collapsed" (scroll down at link) and was harming other holdings of its founder, Roy Stanley. Smith-UK's electric truck venture, part of the "green" energy economy eu...
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