Home » November 30th, 2011 Entries posted on “November, 2011”

Dana Petroleum Egypt Joint Venture Approved

Dana Petroleum plc (‘Dana’) is pleased to announce that The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum has approved “Petro Kareem” – a new joint venture between Dana and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation.

Petro Kareem will produce oil and gas from the Lorcan Development lease, within the North Zeit Bay (‘NZB’) concession, located onshore in the Gulf of Suez, 320km south east of Cairo.

The NZB Production Sharing Contract (‘PSC’) area, in which Dana holds a 100% interest, consists of two wells currently producing oil via the Lorcan Processing Facility, Lorcan-1xST and Fin-1x, with the potential to add a further four wells (Matr-1xST, Calumn-1x, Abydos-1x and Omar-1x), pending development lease approval.

Dana estimates that there are reserves of 10 – 12 million boe (100% Dana) within the PSC area with the potential of considerable upside beyond this. During the early production testing of the Lorcan lease, production of more than 0.25 million barrels of oil has already been achieved.

This positive news follows several significant exploration successes for Dana Petroleum Egypt during 2011.

Within the NZB PSC area, the Dana operated Matr-1xST well encountered good quality oil bearing sands and drilled to a total depth of 8925 feet on 27 December 2010. The well flowed strongly, delivering flow rates of 4,433 bopd with a 64/64″ choke.

Subsequently Dana established a gas condensate field discovery through the Calumn-1x well which reached total depth of 5,300 feet on the 17 February 2011, encountering high quality gas bearing sands, testing at flow rates of up to 16.5 million cubic feet of gas per day with a 48/64″ choke.

Maximum deliverability could not be tested due to surface testing limitations. Shortly after this, Omar-1X well reached total depth of 5,605 feet on the 26 March 2011, also a gas condensate discovery, testing at 29.8 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Elsewhere, on the onshore East Beni Suef concession (Dana 50%, Apache Operator 50%) enjoyed further exploration success later in the year, with two oil discoveries made firstly on 1 June 2011 by the WON C-1X well and secondly via Fayoum-3x on 2 October 2011. Both discoveries have been declared commercial and have had development leases awarded by the Ministry of Petroleum.

Commenting on what has been a successful year, Dana’s Managing Director in Egypt, Nick Dancer, said:

’2011 has been a very exciting year for Dana Egypt. Such positive results from various exploration activities have been strengthened by the recent Petro Kareem joint venture approval. Lorcan’s onshore location makes it an extremely attractive production opportunity and we have plans for up to seven exploration / appraisal wells in the concession area for 2012. This demonstrates Dana’s credentials as an operator and partner choice.’

Article source: http://feeds.oilvoice.com/~r/OilvoiceHeadlines/~3/expOAwojU5s/5c7caedef9de.aspx

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Headlines | Read More »

Vanoil Provides Update For Blocks 3A & 3B In Kenya

Vanoil Energy Ltd. is pleased to provide an operational update on Vanoil’s 100% owned Blocks 3A and 3B in Kenya covering 24,912 square kilometres. The original Production Sharing Contract was entered in 2007 with the Government of the Republic of Kenya. By 2009, Vanoil had obtained and re-processed approximately 2,000 kilometres of mid 1970s vintage 2D seismic originally acquired by Chevron. This data was analysed extensively by Vanoil’s Nairobi based geological geophysical consultants and established that there are three rift system basins present in Blocks 3A and 3B acreage; the Anza, the Mochesa and the Lamu.

In 2010, Vanoil completed its first seismic program which was conducted by BGP Kenya Ltd. This program consisted of 447 line-km of high resolution 2D seismic focusing on an area in South Anza Basin in Block 3A. Analysis of this data, coupled with information from the four exsisting wells on Blocks 3A and 3B, enabled Sproule to complete the National Instrument 51-101 compliant report. Sproule provided a best estimate of gross unrisked prospective resource of 836 million barrels oil equivalent net to approximately one third of Vanoil’s 100% interest lands on Block 3A.

In September 2011, Vanoil and BGP Kenya successfully completed a further 398 kilometre 2D high resolution seismic program on Block 3B bringing the 2010/2011 cumulative total to 845 kilometres of high resolution infill seismic in addition to the 2,000 km of reprocessed 1970s data. Vanoil has now contracted and completed 845 kilometers of new 2D high-resolution seismic on Blocks 3A and 3B.

Vanoil’s Calgary based technical team which includes Sproule Interational Ltd, Statcom Ltd., Geoseis Inc, and Petro-Explorers Inc, have concluded the processing, interpretation and integration of the new high resolution 2D seismic program. Based on extensive experience in the South Sudan the team is able to demonstrate a strong interpretative analogy between Blocks 3A and 3B in the South Anza Basin and the prolific oilfields of the Melut and Muglad basins of the South Sudan.

Article source: http://feeds.oilvoice.com/~r/OilvoiceHeadlines/~3/4fCV_Veb4oQ/5cbc64696270.aspx

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Headlines | Read More »

Workforce Summit Discussess Industry ‘Brain Drain’

A meeting of the minds to examine the oil and gas industry’s workforce trends met in Houston this week to share ideas about overcoming talent shortages, the big crew change and other talent management issues facing the industry’s global economy.

Panel sessions and workshops at the 2011 People in Energy Summit lead by the industry’s most well-known companies focused on hiring and retaining high-potential employees, leveraging cultural diversity, and growth and development efforts that can increase productivity.

The Great Crew Change | Rigzone.com

“The oil and energy sector are suffering from ‘brain drain’ as experienced resources retire from the workforce. Equally troubling is the ramp up time to develop new talent. Hiring requirements in this sector are complex and highly skilled resources are in demand,” said Pamela Bartz, senior vice president of PageUp People, a multinational talent management solutions provider that assists employers by enabling them to align their multinational hiring practices with corporate strategies.

Bartz moderated a panel discussion titled “The Changing Face of the Oil Energy Workforce – Crystallizing Potential in the Industry’s Future Leaders,” along with senior human resources leaders from Cameron International and Baker Hughes. The panel discussed how to acquire and develop critical skill sets; ensuring the mobility of talent to meet project demands worldwide; what global sourcing channels can be leveraged; the role of data in driving better human capital decision-making; and how technology supports talent management initiatives.

“As with many sectors, the oil and energy industries have identified how human capital can be a key competitive differentiator that is as important as their other investments,” Bartz said.

Other speakers at the conference include Noble Energy Vice President of Human Resources Administration Lee Robison, Chesapeake Energy VP of Human Resources Lisa Phelps, Schlumberger University Collaboration Director Najib Abusalbi Ph.D., and The Center for Generational Kinetics Chief Strategy Officer Jason Ryan Dorsey, also known as The Gen Y Guy.

The panel, being held at the Hilton Post Oak Hotel in Houston, began Tuesday and ends Thursday. Visit www.the-tma.org for more information.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?


Article source: http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=113017&rss=true

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Headlines | Read More »

Libya Resurgence Revives OPEC Squabble Ahead of Dec. Meeting

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), Nov. 30, 2011

OPEC is being rattled by an internal debate over how to accommodate resurgent Libyan production, reviving the possibility of disagreement at an upcoming meeting, delegates said Wednesday.

“The key is to accommodate Libyan crude,” an OPEC source said.

But there is no consensus on how far-reaching the discussions on quotas and production should be, pointing to the possibility of a lively debate when the group meets on Dec 14 for the first time since June.

In recent weeks, leading OPEC figures, including Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi and OPEC Secretary and OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri have spoken benignly of the upcoming Vienna gathering, suggesting a more low-key, consensual affair than the June meeting that ended in bitter dispute. Badri said earlier this month that he didn’t expect the group to formally debate the quota ceiling until a June 2012 meeting.

But comments in recent days from rival factions within OPEC signal that tensions are again on the way up. Some OPEC officials are worried about an excess of production in the first half of 2012 in light of weakening economic indicators.

The discussions could touch not only on production increases enacted by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to make up for lost Libyan crude, but also on OPEC’s quota system itself. A cut to the quota system could send a stronger message to markets that production will be lower.

“A reduction of production, a continuation of production…All options are open,” Iran’s OPEC governor Muhammad Ali Khatibi told Dow Jones, saying he was referring to the group’s official quota.

Asked if OPEC would debate about the need to reduce production for members that boosted output after Libya’s disruptions, Khatibi said OPEC “will discuss the issue, it’s obvious.”

He said the combination of Libya’s return and lower demand in the first half will be debated.

The remarks are a subtle – but significant – shift from previous comments from Iran–which holds the group’s rotating presidency– saying it saw no change in quotas in December.

On Tuesday, Libya’s production exceeded half of its prewar output, surpassing the most optimistic forecasts from Tripoli.

While agreeing that “all options are still open,” a senior Gulf OPEC official said the debate should be on adjusting quotas to real production–which is significantly higher than a ceiling agreed late 2008. Such a shift could mean that quotas are increased for many OPEC countries that are currently producing above their allotted share; the anticipated impact of such a shift on oil prices isn’t clear.

“The current quota system is dead,” the official said. “We need a credible quota system that reflects what members are producing, or at least close to the current production.”

Others are taking a less radical view, saying unilateral changes should be discussed to accommodate Libya’s return.

OPEC will likely be “asking members to comply” with quotas, by calling on those that boosted output when Libya was out of the market to cut it back, one Gulf source said.

But the official expects “no strict commitment” in the form of formal production allocations.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones Company, Inc.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?


Article source: http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=113018&rss=true

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Headlines | Read More »

Mira Updates Testing Ops at Tom Shot Bank Well

Mira Resources and its wholly owned subsidiary Equinox TSB Development (Nigeria) Limited provide the following operational update on the ongoing testing program for Tom Shot Bank 1 well (“TSB 1″).

Mira successfully perforated and is currently production testing from the Lower U 7 Interval from 6614 feet to 6734 feet, and is currently flowing 41.6 API gravity sweet oil with no presence of formation water. At the completion of the U 7 production test, Mira will test the U 4 Interval which has been interpreted to contain 42 feet of gas and a 12 foot oil leg. Mira will release the results of the production tests as they become available.

Thomas Cavanagh, President of Mira stated, “We are pleased that the perforation operation in the lower U 7 interval went exactly as planned. The lower U 7 required several days to clean up indicating reservoir damage however is now flowing 41.6 API oil with no signs of formation water. Final rates will be announced at the conclusion of the testing.

“We are very pleased to confirm that the light oils produced in these tests are an identical gravity and GOR to the oils recovered in the Cross River 2 well approximately 4 km to the east, which production tested in significantly thinner but virgin, undamaged reservoirs at rates in excess of 1400 BOPD. Further analysis with the newly acquired data is currently underway by an independent contractor to determine if as suggested by the seismic amplitude extractions, this is a continuous accumulation of hydrocarbons. The question of gross to net reservoir and deliverability was an identified issue however, the significant increase in gross oil encountered over the previous interpretation should significantly increase Mira’s resource assessment as reported in its 51-101 Report. Due to the apparent significant damage to the near bore hole reservoirs within the U 7 reservoir at TSB 1, the upper 60 foot planned test in the U 7 reservoir has been postponed after consultation with our consultants.

“The U 4 reservoir which has an interpreted large gas cap and an oil leg is our next test. We plan to monetize the significant gas resources through the emerging gas policy in Eastern Nigeria with a portion of this, used as gas lift for the U 7 reservoir if required.”

The lower reservoirs the U 9 and the U 8 will be evaluated in a new well (TSB 3) where modern drilling techniques minimize the risk of near bore hole reservoir damage and may be evaluated with the appropriate high resolution open hole logs that have the resolution to evaluate thin bedded reservoirs.

TSB Field is located within Oil Prospecting License 276 (“OPL 276″) which is adjacent to the Abana Field in Oil Mining License 114 and due north of Addax Petroleum Corp. in Oil Mining License 123 (“OML 123″). Addax Petroleum Corp. is producing almost 50,000 BOPD from multiple fields within OML 123. TSB Field was discovered by Shell Petroleum in 1980 and encountered 425 Gross Feet of hydrocarbon pay, 57 net feet of gas and 83 net feet of oil proven pay with another possible 111 net feet of oil and 29 net feet of gas pay in reservoirs which Shell Petroleum interpreted as probable laminated reservoirs.

Mira also announces a $5 million convertible debt financing. Members of Mira management will provide a credit facility of up to $5 million to be expended on completion of the re-entry program currently under way on Mira’s TSB 1 Well including extended production testing and for working capital. The loan will be for a one year term and will bear interest at 12% per annum. Funds which are advanced are convertible into common shares of Mira at the option of Mira at any time prior to maturity of the loan. In the event of conversion, the outstanding principal sum will be converted into common shares of Mira at a price per share which is equal to 95% of the weighted average trading price of Mira’s common shares on the TSX Venture Exchange for the 20 trading days preceding the date of conversion.

Article source: http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=113005&rss=true

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

Rolls-Royce, Petrobras Pen $651M Contract

Rolls-Royce has been awarded new contracts with a potential value of $651 million by Petrobras to support its production activities offshore Brazil.

Rolls-Royce will supply Petrobras with thirty-two (32) RB211 gas turbine power generation packages, including waste-heat recovery units, to meet the power generation requirements of eight (8) separate Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels. The FPSO’s, used for the processing of hydrocarbons and storage of oil, will operate in the petroleum rich Lula (formerly Tupi) and Guará oilfields, located in the pre-salt area of the Santos Basin off the coast of Brazil.

The new gas turbine power generation packages will be delivered in groups of four, with the first units scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2013. Four gas turbine generating sets will be installed on each of the eight FPSO’s. To ensure that the FPSO vessels operate at peak performance levels, Rolls-Royce will also provide Petrobras with long-term services, technical support and training.

Andrew Heath, President – Energy, Rolls-Royce said, “We are delighted that Petrobras has again selected Rolls-Royce power generation technology to help meet its aggressive offshore oil and gas production objectives. Rolls-Royce has a strong record of equipment and services supply to Brazil’s energy sector and we are committed to supporting all our customers in the country with reliable, technology solutions and a strong localised presence.”

Francisco Itzaina, Regional Director – South America, Rolls-Royce said, “Rolls-Royce is committed to continuing to expand its technology presence and manufacturing capabilities in Brazil, and to stimulate the local economy through job creation, skills development and training. To fulfil these contracts we will further develop our local supply chain to provide critical components required for our gas turbine power generation equipment.”

In February Rolls-Royce announced plans for the construction of a new $100 million purpose-built gas turbine assembly and test facility in Santa Cruz in the state of Rio de Janeiro which is expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2013. Equipment from these contract awards, scheduled for installation in the Lula (Tupi) and Guará oilfields, will be among the first units to be assembled and tested at the new Rolls-Royce facility.

The latest contract award increases the number of Rolls-Royce RB211-powered industrial gas turbine units installed in Brazil over the last 10 years to sixty-two (62). The combined total amount of energy generated by these units is equivalent to 1.8 gigawatts of electric power, enough to supply energy to over seven million people.

Article source: http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=113006&rss=true

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

Oil price above $100 on international banking plan

Stocks Surge After Central Bank Action; Dow Breaks 12,000Reuters

Stocks rallied sharply after global central banks announced a plan to support the global financial system and China …

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/oil-price-above-100-international-203316424.html

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Trading | Read More »

Oil prices back above $100 as other commodities surge

Commodity prices across the board moved higher Wednesday, with oil prices topping $100 per barrel for the second time in almost six months. And experts said this time they could actually keep climbing.

“We could look back at today and identify it as the catalyst that put a floor on commodity prices,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst PFG Best.

Oil prices were up 57 cents, or 0.6%, at $100.36. Oil had surged nearly 2% at one point Wednesday. Crude prices finished above $100 a barrel earlier this month for the first time since May.

Metal prices also soared. Gold spiked nearly 2% while silver jumped 3% and copper rallied more than 5%.

The advance in commodity prices came after the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank joined forces with four other top central banks to inject liquidity in global markets. The coordinated effort makes it cheaper for banks around the world to borrow U.S. dollars, at a time where they’re crunched for cash thanks to Europe’s debt crisis.

While the steps are meant to “ease strains in financial markets,” according to the Fed, they devalue the dollar and in turn, boost commodity prices that are priced in the greenback.

Welcome to the Great Global Easing

Higher energy prices are often considered a headwind that could stall the global economic recovery, but the alternative could be worse, said Flynn.

“Driving up commodity prices could absolutely slow economic growth,” he said. “But if you don’t add liquidity, banks could start to fail in Europe. The central banks view that as a bigger danger to the economy than the increase in oil prices.”

The People’s Bank of China’s separate easing initiative also helped boosted global financial markets, including commodities. After raising reserve requirements five times this year, China reversed course and cut the amount of money banks need to hold in reserves, freeing those funds to stimulate the Chinese economy.

“This could be the second biggest global economic intervention in history,” said Flynn. “The last time we saw this many parties flood the economy with stimulus was in the fall of 2008, when things were falling apart. Those moves set the stage for the longest commodities rally in history.” Oil prices fell near $30 a barrel in December 2008 and have more than tripled since.

Now that the central banks have extended a helping hand, Flynn thinks oil prices could climb to $120 a barrel in the near-term. Plus, prices could find support if the U.S. economy continues to show signs of life, and amid unrest in Iran, a major oil exporter.

Flynn thinks the Fed’s measures could drive the cost of gold, which is used to hedge against inflation, to $2,000 before the end of the year.

View this article on CNNMoney

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Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/oil-prices-back-above-100-212000665.html

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Trading | Read More »

What Keeps Solar Energy Executives Up at Night

I found myself stumbling across a lot of discussion about solar energy the past few days. There is both good news and bad news. San Francisco where I live is host to the U.S. Solar Market Insight conference which is officially sold out so conference organizer GTM Research has teased those of us not attending with online conference highlights. GTM is doing the event in collaboration with the solar industry trade group, the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®). SEIA is crowing because it expects the US to install about 2,000 MW of new solar capacity in 2011 passing the 1GW annual capacity addition bragging rights mark after a much more modest 887MW installed in 2010 and only 435Mw in 2009. So you see the good news about the continued growth of solar energy.

 Current capacity by initial year of operation and fuel type

On the other hand Germany announced reductions in its feed-in-tariff subsidies of 15% for next year bringing total Fit reductions of 57% since 2004 as the market penetration increased and the price of solar PV panels has fallen more than 40% over the last year.  Italy and Spain are also expected to reduce their feed-in-tariff subsidies since austerity demands of the PIIGS countries that pay the subsidies directly out of tax revenue can no longer afford it.  Germany passes the FiT costs directly through to customers so the situation in Germany is slightly different but still unsustainable. The EU market is losing momentum and the American market is picking up driven by our renewable portfolio standards and the rush to get the US treasury tax grants and tax credits for fear they will not be renewed.

China’s market for solar energy and virtually any kind of energy capacity addition continued its relentless pace with expectations that China will install about the same solar capacity in 2011 as the US.

My friends in the solar energy business are worried and the things that keep them up at night go beyond the usual worry that Congress will not renew US tax grants and credits. They clearly expect loan guarantees to dry up after the Solyndra mess.  They worry about bankability and the implications of the European sovereign debt crisis on credit and access to capital and the balance sheets. But some of their worst fears revolve around hitting a technology wall on efficiency and performance.

• It’s about Efficiency, Stupid.  Solar energy’s real potential is not measured by its installed capacity but by the improvements in output efficiency.  The best selling PV panels range from 16% to 20% efficiency on average.   But the newest H-class natural gas-fired power plants boast efficiencies of 60%+.   The bottom line is solar must find ways to boost efficiency to be cost competitive without subsidies.  UPDATED 11/19/11.  My original post was confusing efficiency and capacity so thanks to those who pointed out my mistake.  The best way to compare efficiency is on a $/watt or $/kW basis.  I still believe solar efficiency must improve substantially if it is going to live up to its potential to be transformational.  Today falling commodity prices for PV panels is growing market share but we’re going to end up with a lot of the least efficient PV panels instead of focusing on driving up the efficiency while driving down the cost of the best technology to position solar for the future.

• LCOE is the Bottom Line!   A continuing problem for solar energy even with falling prices of solar PV panels is the balance of system costs that often make up as much as 50% of the total cost of a solar system.  The US DOE Sunshot program is investing $145 million in technology and systems improvements in an effort to bring the cost of solar down to $1 per watt or less.  But the industry itself must do more to make this happen or face being priced out of the market when a level playing field without subsidies forces all energy options to compete on a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) basis.

• Scale is required for Sustainability.  The reality of competing in a global market for PV panels and wind turbines as with other ‘commodities’ is scale matters.  We are seeing a quickening consolidation in the renewable energy business with bigger, stronger players with deeper pockets acquiring good projects or good technology.  This is good for the solar and wind industry but it is not sufficient to make a scalable market.  At the same time the industry consolidates with fewer bigger players they need access to bigger markets and the ability to move the clean energy produced to load centers.  That will take building more transmission, adding power electronics and distribution automation to make the grids smart and enable the customer aggregation necessary to make demand response and delivered energy efficiency markets sustainable.

• Low Gas Prices!  Low natural gas prices are not only savaging coal fired generation and eating the economic lunch of nuclear power, but they also are an existential threat to wind and solar energy.  If the states decide that it is time to declare victory when they achieve their existing renewable portfolio standards instead of following California’s 33% lead then the time for level playing field competition on grid parity prices will bring the day of reckoning for renewable energy closer.

And then there is this. The graphic at the beginning of this story shows the installed capacity through 2010.  Solar is too small to even register on this graphic and despite wind energy growth and maturity its market share is just a small slice compared to the huge peak of natural gas fired power generation built and mostly operating  out there probably underutilized waiting for demand to recover along with our stalled economy.  It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that we have largely build the next generation of power plants—-and most of what we built runs on natural gas— cleaner than coal, low-priced, easily available domestic natural gas from unconventional sources .

If you are in the renewable energy industry and you think subsidies are at risk you’d worry too!

By. Gary L. Hunt

Gary Hunt is President, Scalable Growth Strategy Advisors, an independent energy technology and information services adviser and a partner in Tech Creative Labs, a disruptive innovation software collaborative of high tech companies focused on the energy vertical. He served as VP-Global Analytics Data at IHS/CERA; global Division President at Ventyx, now an ABB company; and Assistant City Manager-Austin Texas responsible for Austin Energy and Austin Water.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/oilpricecom/~3/gg36ZrL9Xrg/What-Keeps-Solar-Energy-Executives-Up-at-Night.html

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Headlines | Read More »

Breakthrough in Battery Technology Could Radically Change the Energy World

It is hoped that wind and solar energy will one day become major contributors to a future energy grid that has reduced its reliance upon fossil fuels. But one of the biggest problems facing these sectors is the fact that the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. To maintain a consistent energy supply to the grid during such periods we would need a method of storing the energy.

Unfortunately current battery technology is poor and performance degrades quickly, only allowing for several hundred recharge cycles. Advancements would need to be made so that the batteries have a far longer life, can hold much higher levels of energy, and are cheap to produce.

A team of Stanford researchers have recently taken the first steps to producing such a miracle battery. They have used nanoparticles of a crystalline copper hexacyanoferrate to create a high-power, durable, cheap negative-electrode (cathode).

In fact it is so inexpensive to make, so efficient and so durable that it could be used to build batteries big enough for economical, large-scale energy storage on the electrical grid – something researchers have sought for years.

Standard lithium-ion batteries that power most small electronic devices deteriorate with each charge, as the electrodes crystalline structure wears, meaning that the energy storage capacity reduces over time. Due to the precise structure of this cathode it can remain intact, surviving 40,000 cycles of charging and discharging, after which it could still be charged to more than 80 percent of its original charge capacity. The combination of materials that it uses also enables it to recharge and discharge very quickly, and the quicker that a battery can do this, the more power it can release.

Colin Wessells, a graduate student in materials science and engineering who is the lead author of a paper describing the research said, “At a rate of several cycles per day, this electrode would have a good 30 years of useful life on the electrical grid.”

Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, Wessell’s adviser, agreed “That is a breakthrough performance – a battery that will keep running for tens of thousands of cycles and never fail.”

To maximize the benefit of the open structure of their crystalline copper hexacyanoferrate, the Stanford scientists needed to find ions whose size most effectively correlated to the subatomic gaps. Too big and the ions could collide with and damage the crystal structure when they moved in and out of the electrode. Too small and they might become trapped to one side of the open spaces between atoms instead of easily passing through. The right-sized ion turned out to be hydrated potassium.

Wessells explains, “We decided we needed to develop a ‘new chemistry’ if we were going to make low-cost batteries and battery electrodes for the power grid.”  So they used a water-based electrolyte, which Wessells described as “basically free compared to the cost of an organic electrolyte” such as is used in lithium ion batteries. They also made the battery’s electrical materials from readily available precursors such as iron, copper, carbon and nitrogen; all of which are extremely inexpensive compared with lithium.

For portable electronic devices the energy density and charge hold time are important, but as the power need increases the size can be larger. For energy grid based batteries the size does not matter as much (they aren’t going to be going anywhere). Instead it’s the cost and the cycle times to replacement that matter. This new cathode promises a better solution to both sectors, personal and industrial. The battery can be produced to power small devices, where it completely out classes current lithium batteries. Or the exact same technology can be produced on a larger scale so that it can be used to store vast levels of energy. “There are no technical challenges to producing this on a big-enough scale.”

The only problem is that the structure of the material means that it can only be used for high voltage cathodes, not the corresponding low voltage anode, without which a battery can’t exist. In fact Wessell and Cui haven’t yet produced a battery; they are still searching for a suitable material from which to make the anode.

Even still, the performance of the new electrode is so superior to existing electrodes that Robert Huggins, an emeritus professor of materials science and engineering told Stanford University News that the electrode “leads to a promising electrochemical solution to the extremely important problem of the large number of sharp drop-offs in the output of wind and solar systems.”

The public always seems to be focused on the large, renewable energy technologies, we don’t realise that a battery that can hold more charge and last for 30 years could be just as important. It is exciting to think of the possibilities available if the major electrolyte chemistries were to have electrode pairs with recharge cycles in the tens of thousands and very fast charge rates. The areas in which batteries could be used would increase vastly, and the cost of many electronic devices would fall, because they could be sold without batteries (a large cost factor). The batteries could also increase the efficiency of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro, etc. Really, it is not unrealistic to think that such a small invention could radically change the energy and technology world.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/oilpricecom/~3/b4FtxIXUtFQ/Breakthrough-in-Battery-Technology-Could-Radically-Change-the-Energy-World.html

November 30th, 2011 | Posted in Headlines | Read More »

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