Aquion Energy was a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.-based company that manufactured sodium ion batteries (salt water batteries) and electricity storage systems.

Aquion Energy
Founded1 January 2008 Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersBethlehem, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
Key people
CEO A. J. Congdon
CFO Dr. Mike Murdock [1]
ProductsAqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) battery

The company claimed to provide a low-cost way to store large amounts of energy (e.g. for an electricity grid) through thousands of battery cycles, and a non-toxic end product made from widely available material inputs and which operates safely and reliably across a wide range of temperatures and operating environments.[2]

History edit

The company was founded in 2008 by Jay F. Whitacre, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and Ted Wiley. They set up research and development offices in Lawrenceville, where it produced pilot-stage batteries. The company raised funding from Kleiner Perkins, Foundation Capital, Bill Gates, Nick and Jobey Pritzker, Bright Capital and Advanced Technology Ventures, among others.[3]

In 2011, an individual battery stack was promoted to store 1.5 kWh, a shipping container-sized unit 180 kWh.[4] The battery cannot overheat.[5] The company expected its products to last many charge/discharge cycles,[6] twice as long as a lead-acid battery. Costs were claimed to be about the same as with lead-acid.[7][8]

In October 2014, they announced a new generation with a single stack reaching 2.4 kWh and a multi-stack module holding 25.5 kWh.[9][10]

In 2015, the company announced it would supply batteries for a Hawaii microgrid to serve as backup for a 176-kilowatt solar panel array that would store 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.[11] In April 2015 they announced they have been cradle-to-cradle design certified.[12][13] It was also reported they were reducing headcount.[14]

In March 2017, Aquion Energy filed for voluntary bankruptcy under Chapter 11.[15][16]

In June 2017, bidding starting with a stalking horse offer of $2.8 million from an Austrian battery firm, BlueSky Energy.[17] Juline-Titans LLC, reported by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: affiliate of the China Titans Energy Technology Group identification error was due to the recent creation of Juline-Titans LLC and is not related to the China Titans Energy Technology Group.[clarification needed] The American company's owners chose to pay won the bidding with an offer of $9.16 million keep the inventor, Jay Whitacre with the Aquion Energy products.[clarification needed] The auction price was a small fraction of the reported $190 million in venture capital and debt the company had raised from investors including Bill Gates, Gentry Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital, Bright Capital, Advanced Technology Ventures, Trinity Capital Investment and CapX Partners, Yung’s Enterprise, and Nick and Joby Pritzker.[18][19]

The company was sued in April 2017 for violation of the WARN Act.[20] In August 2017, MIT Technology Review reported that the China Titans acquisition would mean that Aquion "will continue operating as an independent entity, with research and development probably remaining in Pittsburgh. But manufacturing may move elsewhere, potentially somewhere in China."[21]

In September 2017 Juline-Titans closed the East Huntingdon Township facility and moved production to China.[22]

Reports regarding Juline-Titans LLC being a company of Chinese origin continue to hinder progress for Aquion Energy. Wilson-Kramer Army Reserve Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was purchased September 2017 for administration and training, along with other properties in the USA through GSA Auctions, including the former USDA COTTON ANNEX Washington, D.C.

Technology edit

The battery materials are non-toxic.[23] As of early 2014, the cathode used manganese oxide and relies on intercalation reactions. The anode was a titanium phosphate (NaTi2(PO4)3).[24] The electrolyte was <5M NaClO4.[25] A synthetic cotton separator was reported.[26] The electrode layers were unusually thick (>2 mm). The device used Siemens power inverter technology.[27]

Production edit

The company set up manufacturing facilities at a former Sony and Volkswagen assembly plant in East Huntingdon, Pennsylvania[28] initially proposing a capacity of 500 megawatt-hours per year in 2013 and 2014.[29] In March 2014, they announced that commercial shipments of batteries would begin in mid-2014,[30] and in May 2014 announced they had shipped 100 units.[31]

In March 2017, Aquion Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing the inability to obtain additional funding.[32]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Archived from the original on December 11, 2019. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Technology". Aquion. Archived from the original on 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2014-07-26.
  3. ^ "Aquion Energy Announces $35 Million Financing Round to Support Commercialization and Launch of Novel Energy Storage Systems". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  4. ^ Martin LaMonica (July 22, 2011). "Aquion Energy takes plunge into bulk grid storage". Cnet News. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Bogo, Jennifer; Gertz, Emily (December 2014). "Clean, Cheap Energy Storage". Popular Science. 285 (6): 026. Retrieved 26 December 2014. It's nontoxic, low-cost, and modular, and it can't overheat.
  6. ^ "Aquion Technical Presentation" (PDF). Aquion Energy. Aquion Energy. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  7. ^ Kevin Bullis (18 February 2014). "Storing the Sun". MIT Technology review.
  8. ^ Kevin Bullis (14 November 2014). "A Battery to Prop Up Renewable Power Hits the Market". MIT Technology review.
  9. ^ "Aquion Energy Reveals Second-Gen AHI Battery Technology, 40% Increase In Energy". CleanTechnica. 2014-11-13.
  10. ^ Katie Fehrenbacher (October 21, 2014). "Startup Aquion Energy shows off the next generation of its battery for solar and the grid". GigaOm. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  11. ^ Kevin Bullis (January 8, 2015). "Grid Batteries for Wind, Solar Find First Customers". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  12. ^ Hanley, Steve (2015-04-28). "Aquion Energy Aqueous Hybrid Ion Battery Is Cradle To Cradle Certified". cleantechnica. cleantechnica. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  13. ^ Eco-Business. "WEnergy Global wins bid to light up bicycle track around Bangkok International Airport". Eco-Business. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  14. ^ Coyne, Justine. "Aquion Energy cuts jobs in Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh Business Times. Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  15. ^ "Hyped battery maker Aquion Energy files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy". PowerSource: Energy News. In Context. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  16. ^ James Temple (19 June 2017). "Why Bad Things Happen to Clean-Energy Startups". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
  17. ^ "Austrian firm positions itself to buy Aquion Energy at auction for $2.8M". PowerSource: Energy News. In Context. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  18. ^ "Aquion Energy assets likely to be exiting Pa. after auction". PowerSource: Energy News. In Context. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-06-26.
  19. ^ Spector, Julian (2017-07-24). "Saltwater's Second Wave: Aquion Has Emerged From Bankruptcy Under a New Owner". gtm. Greentech Media. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Lawsuit claims bankrupt Aquion Energy fired workers without notice | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette".
  21. ^ Temple, James. "Inside the Fall, and Rebirth, of a Bill Gates–Backed Battery Startup". MIT Technology Review. MIT. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  22. ^ "Battery company closes plant, moves operation to China". The Seattle Times. 2017-09-19. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  23. ^ "Reinterpreting the Process of Innovation: Jay Whitacre at TEDxCMU 2012". TED. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  24. ^ Whitacre, J. F.; Shanbhag, S.; Mohamed, A.; Polonsky, A.; Carlisle, K.; Gulakowski, J.; Wu, W.; Smith, C.; Cooney, L. (2015-01-01). "A Polyionic, Large-Format Energy Storage Device Using an Aqueous Electrolyte and Thick-Format Composite NaTi2(PO4)3/Activated Carbon Negative Electrodes". Energy Technology. 3 (1): 20–31. doi:10.1002/ente.201402127. ISSN 2194-4296.
  25. ^ Wu, Wei; Shabhag, Sneha; Chang, Jiang; Rutt, Ann; Whitacre, Jay F. (2015). "Relating Electrolyte Concentration to Performance and Stability for NaTi2(PO4)3/Na0.44MnO2 Aqueous Sodium-Ion Batteries". Journal of the Electrochemical Society. 162 (6): A803–A808. doi:10.1149/2.0121506jes. S2CID 95052486.
  26. ^ Whitacre, J.; Shanbhag, S.; Mohamed, A.; Polonsky, A.; Carlisle, K.; Gulakowski, J.; Wu, W.; Smith, C.; Cooney, L.; Blackwood, D. (2015). "A Polyionic, Large-Format Energy Storage Device Using an Aqueous Electrolyte and Thick Format Composite NaTi2(PO4)3 / Activated Carbon Negative Electrodes". Energy Technology. 3: 20–31. doi:10.1002/ente.201402127.
  27. ^ "A new power grid battery emerges with a deal from Siemens — Tech". October 2013.
  28. ^ "Aquion chooses Sony site for battery plant". 2012-02-22. Archived from the original on 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  29. ^ "Aquion Energy's Disruptive Battery Tech Picks Up $35M in VC". Greentech Media. 2013-04-02. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  30. ^ Doom, Justin (2014-03-19). "Aquion to Begin Commercial Battery Shipments This Year, CEO Says". Businessweek. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
  31. ^ "Aquion gearing up for battery production". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  32. ^ "U.S. Battery maker Aquion Energy files for bankruptcy". Reuters. 8 March 2017.

External links edit