Nilar and KOSTAL’s partnership

Nilar and KOSTAL’s partnership – makes energy storage more accessible for homeowners

As technology continuously advances and renewables become more prominent, the stress on the grid is rampantly growing. From the first prototype, Nilar strived to create the ideal battery to destress the grid within a sustainable energy storage installation. The years of applied experience and cumulative knowledge have instilled the importance and benefits of a great partner that can help penetrate the market. Nilar is proud of our emergent collaboration with KOSTAL Solar Electric. Their customer-oriented focus and innovative solution design align well with Nilar’s company values.

KOSTAL Solar Electric offers an all-in-one hybrid inverter which is the perfect solution for every application. The PLENTICORE series can be adapted for multiple configurations, integrating photovoltaic (PV) systems with energy storage, whether as a new installation or a retrofit. This smart device allows the consumer to charge a battery directly from PV or another AC power source. KOSTAL hybrid inverters not only manage the interaction between PV and energy storage; they optimize electricity use based on self-learning, forecast-based energy management.

A PV system integrated with storage is efficient and very advantageous because the self-generated energy can be used practically any time of day, not just when produced. More power is needed during peak times such as lunchtime during an office’s busy workday or in the evening at a household where everyone has returned for the evening.  The goal is to find an optimal balance of the available energy. This means storing the energy when inexpensive or when the sun produces more than needed and then using it when power demands are the highest. In addition, implementing an efficient power system contributes to the environment by allowing the highest consumption possible of self-generated power while reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

To create a complete package for consumers, KOSTAL tested multiple battery manufacturers to verify their interaction and performance when integrated with their inverter solutions. Nilar manufactures nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries to be a safe, green, and reliable option on the market. The batteries contain water-based, non-flammable electrolyte and the bipolar design creates a uniform current path to avoid any concentrated heat spots. They do not generate short circuit current failure even under low temperature charging. The electrodes cannot ignite spontaneously and will not cause heat propagation between modules. The dynamic capabilities of the sophisticated battery monitoring and control systems allow for safe and reliable operation as well as seamless integration.

Through this qualification work, Nilar and KOSTAL found the perfect match when pairing the PLENTICORE series with the Nilar Hydride® battery as an alternative to lithium-ion technology. Frank Henn, Vice President of KOSTAL Solar Electric GmbH comments: “More flexibility – that is what we offer our customers with the combination of our all-in-one PLENTICORE hybrid and battery inverters and Nilar’s high quality battery solutions”.

Now that the partnership has been formalized, KOSTAL and Nilar, together, can offer this combination of inverter and battery to a consumer’s system to use more green renewable solar power. Transport, storage and safety can be achieved without extra precautions thanks to the use of NiMH chemistry of Nilar Hydride® batteries. The Nilar/KOSTAL is the optimal choice for anyone looking for a safe and environmentally friendly energy storage solution. “Nilar is passionate about being an essential component within the energy transition. Pairing with KOSTAL brings us a step closer to meeting the evolving industry demands,” stated Jan Lundquist, Nilar Head of Sales & Marketing.

The partnership between Nilar and KOSTAL paves the way to expand into new markets. This includes branching further into Scandinavia, Benelux, DACH and Southern Europe. To learn more about an energy storage system and if it is the right choice for you, contact Nilar or KOSTAL to discuss a solution today.

Learn more about the joint solutions: Click here. and in Swedish: Click here.

 

 

 


Meet a Nilar employee May

What lead you to work in this industry?
I was working in B2B publishing for 10 years prior. In the last few years, I helped with the launch of Energy Storage News which has grown to be the leading news platform dedicated to the storage sector. I have been passionate about sustainable technologies, mastering my sales skills, and decided to make the leap into energy technology. I wanted to be a part of the market finding greener solutions for tomorrow. I can see that the energy storage sector is one of the fastest growing industries and has incredible opportunities. Working for a company like Nilar has enabled me to sell at another level by offering more environmentally friendly solutions to the market, a next gen technology, and I get to work on a lot of cool projects!

What do you find most fun about your job?
That every day is different than the next and offers new challenges to overcome. I enjoy meeting partners and integrators and facilitating a sale, starting from establishing a relationship with a new client to becoming acquainted and building a trust in what great solutions we can offer the market together. I love working in a team with experts to learn from. I value how much responsibility we’re given; the Nilar leadership trusts your ability which has been shown to clearly be a winning concept.

You recently moved from UK to Sweden. What has been your experience so far?
I moved here in September. Moving has been a huge upgrade in my everyday life due to the difference in how the pandemic situation was being handled; I have appreciated having more freedom. I have fallen in love with the Swedish culture – I love the concept of what you call “fika” here; I enjoy going to our summer house on Öland and the home that I built for myself here. I’m even marrying my Swedish girlfriend and hope to start a family and settle into a life in Sweden.

What differences do you see between the energy storage market in the UK and the one in Sweden?
The energy storage market in the UK has been growing but we’re still hoping to see some sort of subsidies with the administration changes. Sweden have a very advantageous subsidy model. The UK doesn’t currently offer subsidies, so here, in Sweden, we have more incentives. This, of course, has some effect on the growth potential of the market. It seems like the UK is more focused on large scale solutions and grid infrastructure. In Sweden, we have more incentives which offer greater potential for the home and residential market.

Who inspires you?
My partner and my family have been a big inspiration; they guide me to make the right decisions in certain aspects, in my personal life as well as when it comes to my career. Throughout my career, I have also had many incredible mentors, and these have usually been managers who I respect and have learnt a lot from.

How do you keep up to date with the latest news on the market?
Having been a part of launching Energy Storage News, which is the leading news platform on the energy storage market, I learnt a lot on where and how to keep up on the latest news in the industry.

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
Right now, I’m trying to expand our products on the international markets. I’m involved in really exciting integration projects with leading partners in the regions that I cover. I’ve set up our company with other incredible players on the market. Integrating the Nilar solutions with leading inverter and integration partners is truly a joy!

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I see myself in a leadership role at Nilar; I would love to see myself as the head of a region or country manager. I want to be able to watch and see the company, that I have come to love, become one of the top battery companies in the industry.

A secret talent?
I can juggle, play the piano, and I love all watersports.

The best thing about working at Nilar?
The responsibility given. Also, the opportunities offered to grow and to be part of a tech company that will be one of the top energy storage solution providers.

 


Industry Highlights May

The Potential within a Shifting Job Market

When the Paris Agreement was put in place, it validated the widespread consensus that global warming was too rapid to ignore, and CO2 emission reduction was imperative. The goals set from country to country were ambitious and aggressive, but they reflect the urgency of the situation and the desire to move forward. CO2 has risen approximately 20 ppm per decade since 2000, leading to rapid increase in the global average surface temperature. Fossil fuels have been one of the main causes of these greenhouse gas emissions. There have been multiple pathways proposed to accomplish the Paris goals, with the one consistency being that coal needs to be phased out. There are devastating effects on public health and the environment from mining and burning coal in addition to its effects on the global scale.

Phasing out coal and implementing “clean” energy seems straightforward on the surface. However, there are substantial and measurable implications that would need to be addressed. Closing a coal mine or processing plant to shift to a climate neutral economy has swift social and economic consequences. Town infrastructure tends to develop outward from the mine. This interdependency means a closure could bankrupt the local economy. There is a workforce with reliance on a single source of income or social assistance, making the closing of their livelihood devastating. One option that has been suggested is to invest in training to help move displaced coal workers into clean tech occupations. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a disadvantage is that the wages are not directly translatable, leading to a considerable wage gap. These are all factors that need to be considered within the energy transition.

Finding a way to make this phase out go smoothly has become a priority. In the European Union (EU), there was a decision made to emphasize the significance of this issue. The European Commission set up the Just Transition Fund, securing 17,5 billion Euros in the form of grants to support high carbon regions. There were multiple studies commissioned to examine different coal regions around the EU to gain an understanding of the needs for local employment and nearby communities. Though there were regional differences, overall, it was found that effective cooperation between the EU, national and local governments led to achievable smart investments in people and sustainable industries. There was the possibility to not only replace the jobs lost but also boost the local economy and benefit the environment.  The effect would not be immediate, taking at least 3 years but the perceived benefits would be enduring.

In the US, the new administration not only recommitted the US to the Paris Agreement, but also recently proposed a 2 trillion USD clean energy plan. Within the proposal, there were pledges to transition the six-figure fossil fuel jobs to equally high paying clean energy jobs. The current working landscape may not be able to sustain that promise but investment in the supply chain future will be the key. It would be essential to build a domestic supply chain for the growing renewable energy sector. In addition, there would need to be time spent in effective communication for regional buy-in due the political climate. There is growing optimism with these initial strategic moves will drive the US forward.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the renewable energy industry added half a million jobs worldwide in 2019 alone. There was still upward movement in 2020 despite the pandemic response. To ensure this momentum continues, each country will have to harness its renewable potential through education and training measures, labor market interventions and industrial policies embracing the regional capacities. The promising results seen so far in developed markets with job creation and local economy advancement can also be effective in emerging markets. IRENA indicated that there is a much larger employment potential with the creation of comprehensive policy framework. In the next three years, it was predicted that an ambitious stimulus program could create 5,5 million jobs in addition to the 11,5 million already within the industry. It is essential to prioritize the displaced workers from fossil fuel because of their considerable knowledgebase that can contribute to a reoriented, clean energy industry.

All the efforts towards economic recovery and environmental stability instill hope that one day the world will return to a sense of normalcy. However, it is clear that we should not want to return to normal. Now is not the time to be complacent. We want to come out the other side better. The movement in the job market is only the beginning. Embracing the energy transition and moving towards a more sustainable life will help us be better.


Nilar listed on Nasdaq First North Premier Growth Market

Video footage from today’s digital listing ceremony hosted by Nasdaq.

Nilar today announces the outcome of the Offering of the Company’s shares and the listing of the shares on Nasdaq First North Premier Growth Market. The Offering attracted very strong interest from Swedish and international institutional investors and the general public in Sweden and was heavily oversubscribed. Trading on Nasdaq First North Premier commences today, 30 April 2021.

Usually a physical ceremony is held with a bell ringing on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, but with the ongoing pandemic, the event was celebrated through a digital listing ceremony hosted by Nasdaq. Streaming from the company headquarters, Marcus Wigren and Michael Obermayer, CEO and Chairman of the Board respectively, shared memories and milestones from the journey leading up to this historic milestone before ringing in the iconic Nasdaq clock to mark the opening of the Stockholm Stock Exchange and the listing of the shares on Nasdaq First North Premier Growth Market.

Marcus Wigren, CEO of Nilar, comments:

Today’s capital raise and listing are a resounding vote of confidence for Nilar in our quest to further expand our footprint within the fast-growing battery energy storage market. We are hugely pleased to have gained the support from so many strong institutional investors; and the interest from the general public has been overwhelming.

The management team has played a vital role for Nilar reaching this milestone. Marcus Wigren comments:

“I’m proud and grateful for the support of our management team during this journey. Our CFO, Magnus Nordgren, has played an crucial role in the process. Having worked together with Magnus for almost a decade, It’s truly a joy to experience this exciting milestone together with him.”

Michael Obermayer, Chairman of the Board of Directs of Nilar, comments:

Battery innovation and development is a long-distance race. That Nilar has come this far, after a decade of technology development and a second decade of product refinement and market development, carving out a unique position in the battery energy storage system world, is due to the unfailing tenacity of Nilar’s specialists and the steady conviction and support of Nilar’s investors. I would like to extend the Board’s heartfelt thanks to all hardworking Nilar management and staff, and all our loyal shareholders. Nilar is at the gate of its third decade, entering now a hugely exciting expansion phase.

To ensure continued rapid and a market listing, Nilar’s Board of Directors has focused on important initiatives, including strengthening the management team. Michael Obermayer comments:

“Over the past 18 months, Nilar’s management has been significantly strengthened with expanded production management, a new head of R&D, a strengthened finance function and an expanded management within global supply-chain management”.

The Nilar Management Team


Nilar Industry Highlights April

Reflective Insights Towards a Path Forward

This last year was a unique experience for everyone. Every country had a different approach to handling what a pandemic means, which led to multiple strategies with varying success. There was no way to truly predict how things would progress. The silver lining of the pandemic was the transparency it created within the energy industry. Underlying issues were brought to the surface instead of coasting in obscurity. Urgency was escalated for problems that were on the horizon. The energy transition would have persevered without this clarity, but these foreseeable problems would have continued to grow under the surface, becoming more potent and formidable. Ultimately, the newfound perspective from the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 has shaped the path forward in tackling the growing climate crisis.

A year ago, the immediate impact was felt within the supply chain for battery production. Part of this was due to containment measures and mandatory lockdowns imposed hastily to impede the spread of the virus. Wuhan, in particular, was a base for many major industries while also serving as the epicenter of the viral outbreak. The Hubei province capital is home to the largest inland port in China. In addition, more than 200 of the 500 Fortune global firms have a presence within Wuhan. There was a harsh impact on the workforce, either fighting the illness or hovering in a workless state due to lockdowns. Despite the well-developed infrastructure within China, there was a domino effect of closures, labor shortages, and supply shortages, quickly evaporating the supply chain flow to the rest of the world. As safeguarding procedures were better defined and implemented, these particular impacts did lessen but one thing was instantly clear: the industry will not flourish with this heavy of a dependence on a single location.

One factor is mineral supply, which is deeply interlaced into the manufacturing sector of the energy industry. The needs of specific chemistries are limited to the mineral availability of specific established locations. According to S&P Global, 275 mining operations worldwide were disrupted within the first four months of the pandemic. As these closures highlighted the local economic reliance on mining, many of these countries did declare mining as an essential operation to open back up. However, another problem became apparent in logistics beyond the restriction in border controls. According to a communication from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries to the Federal Maritime Commission, many of their members have been plagued with varying container issues. There is a shortage of containers with many being dropped at ports that cannot use them or unload them with the labor shortage, so they become overwhelmed and store them offsite. Then the containers are out of reach for ports that need them. In addition, the border restrictions led to many containers experiencing one-way trips and were unable to return to their home country. This created a prominent imbalance in the middle of the pandemic. Also, the cost of shipping a container of goods has increased by 80% since November 2020, critically hindering bicoastal delivery. These difficulties just enhanced the supply chain issues.

There is a need for regionalization of supply chains, which would diversify supply, better meet demand, and reduce the environmental impact from logistics. These initial lockdowns did dramatically reboot the movement towards regional development. According to the Financial Times, there has been a surge in investor interest in battery related commodities. Lithium producers alone have raised more than 2 billion USD over the last few months. The increase in investment coincides with the increased government pledges towards decarbonization and the realization that battery demand will increase spectacularly, not only in the dominating electric vehicle realm but also in the growing energy storage market. The global spending on infrastructure development is expected to continue in its upward trajectory. Building this kind of regional infrastructure will take time and there may be a short-term shortage but, ultimately, this shift is in the right direction for the energy transition. Despite the temporary decline in the industry, BloombergNEF predicts the battery demand will surge in the future. Their forecast for lithium-ion batteries is shown below.

Another matter emphasized has been the need for recycling. There is a burgeoning growth of batteries reaching their end of life. The longevity of the batteries kept the building e-waste issue effectively hidden, observed but seemingly with a lack of urgency. The lucidity brought on by the pandemic was that reusability is as equally important as supply chain management. In general, the world is facing a growing electronic waste (e-waste) problem, with 50 million tonnes being produced annually according to the United Nations (UN).  Given the growth expected for specific industries like energy, this annual waste production is expected to increase to 120 million tonnes annually by 2050.  The UN projects that if there was a way to recycle the raw material directly, the e-waste could be worth at least $62.5 billion annually.

Within 2020, globally regulations were proposed to further the progress on this front. In the EU, there was an initiative under the Circular Economy Action Plan that defined mandatory requirements for batteries introduced to their energy market such as the use of responsibly sourced materials, restricted use of hazardous substances, and recyclable material content. The goal is to enforce manufacturing with the lowest possible environmental impact using materials that are ethically sourced and designed with end of life in mind. There is a desire for the long-lasting batteries to be repurposed or recycled, returning value back into the economy. This proposal is significant because of the legal certainty it provides; this is risk mitigation for large scale investment into the market with the government endorsement and initial framework. In the US, the Department of Energy launched the Energy Storage Grand Challenge Roadmap with an aggressive strategy to ultimately develop and domestically manufacture energy storage technologies to meet domestic demands by 2030. This opened up strategic funding opportunities that incorporates a broad range of categories, including electrochemical, electromechanical, thermal, and flexible generation. This boost in government support should enable American companies to better compete in the international markets.

These decarbonization efforts can visibly have an economic benefit and the many variables in development reflect the multiple possible pathways to achieve it. After this last year, there is a worldwide economic crisis underway. There is a need for economic relief, but it should go beyond stimulus. Policy development and government spending needs to focus on sustainable, clean energy to not only address the climate crisis but expand job creation, protecting and evolving the workforce now and in the future. We can not only rebuild our global economy but transform it for the future.

As the global perspective evolves, Nilar will continue to embrace future-thinking, designing with end of life in mind. The company started with the goal of creating a battery for a better world. Nilar manufactures nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries to be a safe, green, cost-efficient and reliable option on the market, with a water-based, non-flammable electrolyte and a bipolar design for uniform current paths amongst other advantages. To meet the evolving global industry demands, we will continue to innovate towards performance enhancement and lower cost because we are passionate about being an essential element of the energy transition.

 

 


Nilar Industry Highlights March

Stepping Back Emissions to Step Forward

The Paris Agreement marked a turning point; there was widespread recognition that global warming was increasing too quickly, and that expeditious CO2 emission reduction was imperative. The goals set from country to country were ambitious and aggressive, but they reflect the urgency of the situation and the desire to improve. Globally, CO2 has risen approximately 20 ppm per decade since 2000; for perspective, that is ten times faster than the sustained CO2 rise during the prior 800,000 years. Emissions at these levels has caused a rapid increase in the global average surface temperature, as shown in this figure compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations.  Measured relative to the “pre-industrial period”, the temperature reached a 1°C change by 2017, with an additional half degree projected to occur within less than 25 years. Any temperature increase can be linked to multiple affects to humans and nature and the ambitions of the Paris Agreement has been to keep the temperature well below 2°C while also adapting to the inevitable 1.5°C world.

Fossil fuels have been one of the main drivers of greenhouse gas emissions. With the many proposed pathways to remain below 1.5°C, the one consistency is that coal needs to be phased out. There are devastating effects on public health and the environment from mining and burning coal in addition to its effects on the global scale. The emissions specific to coal need to drop significantly by 2030 to coincide with multiple other changes in order for the 1.5°C goal to even be feasible. Referencing the IPCC Report on global warming, Carbon Brief compiled all the proposed scenarios to achieve 1.5°C through fossil fuel reduction in the figure below. According to this figure, coal emissions will need to fall by 67-78% this decade.  The dotted line represents the expected emissions without any new intervention.

In general, many areas around the world are pledged to phase out of coal and there has already been progress. In the middle of 2020, there are officially three countries within Europe that have become coal free through the shutdown of their remaining coal power plants. Belgium initiated the trend in 2016, with Austria and Sweden following behind.  According to the Europe Beyond Coal campaign, there are now 10 countries within Europe that are coal free, with thirteen others having announced phase-out plans for coal by 2030.  Other European countries are still working out ideas and planning legislation but may join these commitments.

One of the largest contributors to coal emissions is China, responsible for 28% of the global emissions. In September 2020, they committed to reaching their emission peak in 2030 and move towards carbon neutrality by 2060. In China, coal consumption had declined from 2013 to 2017, but then trended upward as the government tried to stimulate industrial growth. The pandemic did slow this growth temporarily, but the bounce back in the second half of the year led to CO2 emissions from energy production, cement making and other industrial uses that were 4% higher than the 2019. Despite this, the announced strategy is monumental, and China’s consequent five-year plan will lay out the complete transformation of the Chinese economy needed to achieve the necessary economic, industrial and environmental changes. China is already a leader in the manufacture of clean energy technologies, which may be an instrumental factor in the transition.

As coal is phased out and renewable energy systems increase, there is a need for a stability for the grid.  Coal served as a source for steady power generation, with the ability to guarantee supply. It is cheap and, with its maturity, involves well understood technology making it a formidable supply. In the short term, combined cycle gas turbines are a realistic alternative that can fill the gap at lower cost and lower CO2 emissions. However, to align with the ambitious and aggressive international goals for expeditious CO2 emission reduction, renewable sources will need to address the shortcomings. Renewable sources are plagued with their intermittency, so energy storage is essential to help fill in these much-needed roles.

Coal had been a stabilizing force for the wholesale and balancing market prices due to its steady generation. To avoid the inevitable volatility in these prices with increased renewable penetration, energy storage can be used for wholesale arbitrage and balancing. Storage time shifting will also allow predictable power generation profile to better align with the typical energy demand profile. The flexibility and dispatchability of energy storage will be the key to a full coal phase out. Furthermore, there is an opportunity here to push sustainable energy sources forward through forward-thinking policies and regulations, which can lead to much-needed job creation.

At Nilar, we see these changes not only as a step forward for the environment but also as a step towards the economic recovery that is urgently needed globally. As emissions are reduced, there will be an increased effort in recyclability and designing towards a circular economy, which we embrace in our battery development. As new systems are implemented, there will be continuous innovation towards improving performance and efficiency. Ultimately, energy storage will be one of the building blocks to the future.


Meet a Nilar employee March

 

What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I got interested in this industry because the energy storage industry is incredibly exciting and, in general, it’s undergoing extreme progress; it is really an industry of the future. The world needs to go where we at Nilar are aiming. The grid comes with limitations, that’s where our products come into the picture. The environmental aspect is important for me; it’s also a big reason to why I wanted to apply to a company like Nilar.

What can a typical workday look like for you?
It consists of a lot of meetings with stakeholders around our project office. I spend a lot of my time involved in work with team members. I work with making sure projects proceed, trying to answer questions to move different projects forward. I have coaching sessions with my coworkers where we work on finding different methods to move forward, being solution oriented. I am passionate about proficient reports; they make it easier to evaluate the progress in different projects. In our meetings, we figure out how to get from A to B.

Early mistakes your learnt from in your career?
To always listen to feedback when it’s being given, to assimilate it. To understand that the initial plan you have may not be the best way to move forward. Sometimes it’s better to reconsider. The best outcome has usually been when I first had an initial thought and then challenged myself to rethink and to question if that is the optimal path to go down, to think completely outside the box. Even if it meant including solutions that would be outside the scope, to dare to rethink. Be critical of yourself, when you’re being challenged is when you learn.

What do you do in your free time?
I spend time with my family. I have two kids (nine and five years). A lot of my free time is spent on their activities. I train in a Swedish veteran ice hockey league; I like to play ice hockey a couple of times during the week. Now, during the pandemic, everything is closed so I built my own rink. We’re using it almost every day; it’s a fun activity for the whole family.

What’s the most important thing to consider when working with processes and projects?
The most important things are to be solution oriented and to always focus on the delivery. Planning and structure are important but a plan may need to be changed often, so it’s crucial to be solution oriented all the way. It’s essential to focus on delivery within a certain timeframe; if the scope of the project doesn’t change, it’s important to meet deadlines. You must be open to alternative solutions and rearrange the plan several times when necessary.

Who inspires you?
Good leaders. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are two examples that come to mind. A good leader is someone who is communicative, open, transparent and has the ability to inspire others.

A good book you’ve read?
Getting Things Done by David Allen has helped me a lot, both personally and in my work.

What are you looking forward to this spring?
I most look forward to being able to see friends, relatives and family again. I hope to see myself being able to hug my close ones again.

Best tip to maintain a team spirit within work groups during a pandemic?
The best tip I have is to find creative opportunities when you can’t meet up physically. Our team has met up outdoors for walks. I think it’s of great importance to have one-on-one meetings with my work team; every week we spend a half hour and talk about work as well as life in general. Creativity and communication are important for team spirit.

Best thing about working at Nilar?
The best thing is that it’s really fun and exciting every day. You always learn new things; no day is like the other. The company accelerates rapidly; it’s necessary to be solution oriented to be able to deal with all quick turns. There’s something special about Nilar employees; it’s hard to express in words. We have a strong sense of togetherness and a great spirit! I miss seeing people from across departments and look forward to when that will be possible again.


Nilar Energy and Energy+ product series

We are excited to be sharing the great news of the launch of the Nilar Energy and Energy+ batteries!

By applying expertise acquired through our predecessor, the batteries encompass multiple improvements and are made to meet a wide range of applications.

In 2018, we brought a new battery to the market by using our patented Nilar Hydride® technology, introducing a new robust sealing design, reduced volumetric footprint, increased efficiency, and improved ease in installation. This battery embodies years of gained experience and applied research and development. As this battery is deployed in numerous systems in multiple countries, we observed the nuances of the performance and evolving needs of the market and applied this knowledge towards unrelenting design enhancement. This recent product line led to insights into improvements and innovations that can only make the battery better, now and in the future.

We now introduce the Nilar Energy and the Nilar Energy+ Battery. More efficient from cell to system, both have retained the critical aspects that have become synonymous with Nilar: long term power, superior safety benefits, and environmental sustainability. The batteries showcase the Nilar Hydride® technology and modular bi-polar construction. The Nilar Energy Battery has a 10 Ah capacity, like its predecessor. A more resilient plastic was implemented into the laser-welded module casing. The Energy+ battery encapsulates all the advancements of the Energy Battery, with the addition of a capacity increase. The electrode volume contains an increase of compressed active material, leading to a 12 Ah capacity. The Energy Battery is the exceptional choice for peak power reduction and provides expedient energy for any medium power application. When more energy is essential, the Energy+ battery serves as the premier energy source. It is the optimal choice for time shifting and the steady energy achieved is invaluable for low power applications.

The other area of continuous evolution is within our battery management system (BMS). The local battery management electronics and associated programming are fully designed within Nilar; there are intricacies in efficiently managing nickel metal hydride chemistry that are best addressed in-house. Building on the experience gained through our design process and 2020 deployments, we have made several changes within the circuit design to further improve the already outstanding safety qualities, reduce costs and increase functionality. Our proprietary program has advanced in how it processes the dynamic data coming out of the battery, opening up more sophisticated capabilities. In addition, the communication with energy management systems was improved for better and more efficient interaction. The updated BMS accentuates the superior performance of the new Nilar Energy and Nilar Energy+ Battery.

“To meet the evolving global industry demands, Nilar brings these two new batteries to the market. Each has its own distinct characteristics to satisfy different circumstances, making them ideal for a wide range of applications. We are passionate about serving our customers and embracing our role within the energy transition,” says Jan Lundquist, Head of Sales & Marketing.

Read more about the Nilar Energy & Energy+ product series by clicking on the link below:
Read more here

Read more about the Nilar Energy & Energy+ battery pack by clicking on the link below:
Read more here

Read more about the Nilar Energy & Energy+ Cabinet by clicking on the link below:
Read more here

Read more about the Nilar Energy & Energy+ Home Box by clicking on the link below:
Read more here

Read more about the Nilar Energy & Energy+ Rack by clicking on the link below:
Read more here

 


Meet a Nilar employee January

 

What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I chose to study Energy and Environment at the university because I have always been interested in technology. Climate change is a big issue, and I feel it is important to be involved and influential. Within energy, I was drawn to electrical energy because it felt the most logical. I like how electricity flow is so similar to water, picturing cables like piping. Electrical energy is such a relevant topic within the future. It is clear to me that this is where society is headed with the growth of electric vehicles and solar panels. As everything goes electric, I feel it is enjoyable to be part of societal development.

As a new employee of Nilar, what is your initial impression?
Over these last few months, I feel that I learn something new every day and have evolved in my role as an Application Engineer. I like the team spirit within the company, having experienced how many of my colleagues’ help out with tasks that are outside of their specific roles to support each other and our customers when needed.

What is the most common misconception about the industry?
It sometimes seems to be a surprise to people that you can generate your own electricity and reduce your costs, however, everyone I talk to is very positive towards a societal development towards cleaner energy.

Can you elaborate more on your master’s thesis that you completed in Kenya?
In 2019, I went to Kenya as part of my master’s thesis. There was a Swedish startup there that was converting safari cars to electric vehicles while integrating solar panels into the design to maintain a net zero consumption. My assignment was to help them modernize their production, helping to establish standardization of procedures. This would help them streamline their work, increasing how many vehicles they could convert per month. During my work, there were lots of discussions about battery selection.

What do you feel was the coolest experience you gained from that trip?
First and foremost, I met the mother of my child while there. On top of that, I had an awesome experience being immersed in another culture. I was able to go to another continent and jump into work with fully committed people. They were passionate about the same issues as me within the energy sector.

Lessons you learned in your career?
During my time at the university, I learned the importance of time management. My advice to others that are currently enrolled at a university is to enter the labor market, even if it is just every other weekend. You gain insights into how companies work and interact within the industry. It is good to have a side job during the summer and on weekends, even during holidays. It is good for meeting people and improving social skills. Also, the work experience gained is invaluable.

Who inspires you?
Right now, Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX. He is at the forefront of the technology, pushing all the markets forward. Outside the industry, it is my mother. She has always been a happy person. In life, it is the most important thing to be happy no matter where you are. She emphasized the power of having a positive attitude and not stressing over the future or the past. You should focus on living in the present.

What is a book you would recommend?
I really lean towards adventure, sci-fi and fantasy. It can be so magical when anything can happen. I enjoyed The Golden Compass with its different worlds; every chapter was something new. HBO has released a series, His Dark Materials, that highlights the full trilogy of the author. Also, I enjoyed the Hunger Games. I read the first book in high school and, once complete, I had to complete the whole series.

A secret talent?
I am really good at singing karaoke.

Best tips for staying productive?
Take advantage of the time set up for work and to always maintain a good Work-Life balance. When working from home, having a space that is arranged specifically for work hours has helped me to stay productive during work hours and being able to leave it as is once the workday ends.

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
The close teams and familial feeling. Everyone has nicknames and are able to make jokes. I really enjoy the humor. Everyone is like a family.


What to know about residential energy storage?

What to know about residential energy storage?

When making the choice to commit to an energy storage system for your home, there is a lot of information presented to you. Every company has a “great” product that can “revolutionize” your energy usage profile. The best approach is to start by setting the appropriate expectations. There is a basic misconception that any energy storage system can be dropped into your house and then amazingly the whole house stays powered during a power outage for multiple hours. It is true that there are systems that can support an island-mode/off-grid setup, which is consistent with this assumption. However, most residential storage systems on the market are not designed and sized with this in mind. Also, that kind of functionality may not be what is appropriate or cost-effective for the homeowner’s needs. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a foundation of understanding for what a system can do.

With many companies offering a home storage solution, there are specific terms that indicate what the system can do. To start, there are terms associated with where the system is located relative to the electricity meter provided by the utility company. A behind-the-meter (BTM) storage system is able to provide energy directly to the house or building where it is installed without having to interact with the electricity meter. A front-of-the-meter (FTM) system means it provides energy to off-site locations, with the energy passing through the electricity meter. For instance, the power provided by the utility is considered FTM. When thinking of a residential storage system, it is a typically BTM. There can be exceptions, such as a community storage system that serves a collection of houses where the energy distribution is monitored and regulated in conjunction with the utility, passing through the meter.

An energy storage system is typically specified with an energy value and a power value. The energy value, in kilowatt-hours (kWh), refers to the capacity of the battery. The power value, in kilowatts (kW), is mainly associated with the power conversion capability of the inverter, which is a component that interfaces the battery with the electrical box. The power from the battery is called direct current (DC) power. An inverter is sized to interface with a set voltage range of DC power. It is able to accept the DC power and convert it to the appropriate alternating current (AC) output voltage and frequency needed. The national grid codes for the installation location need to be considered since they, amongst other things, define what the output AC voltage and frequency need to be.

When you are looking into an energy storage system, the company you speak to is going to ask multiple questions to understand what you hope to accomplish. This conversation can address a number of topics. Do you already own another system, like solar panels? Are you worried about power outages and want to back up critical circuits in your home? What do you consider a critical circuit? How big of a system can you afford, or have you considered a prospective budget? Have you looked into any local subsidies available? This is just a sampling of aspects to consider.

You may be wondering: How is all of this information interpreted? To start, it is good to have a general understanding of power consumption around your home. On a macro scale, many utility companies offer their consumers the ability to obtain electricity usage data associated with their meter. This information is compiled for billing but there is also a movement to have it available in time intervals that would be useful for a homeowner to utilize when considering additions to the home.  As an example, below is a collection of utility information of the monthly energy usage for a single-family residence with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and three occupants. For this particular household, the maximum usage for any month since October 2018 is approximately 1100 kWh. This maximum could be exploited to represent a daily usage value to help size an appropriate system.

On a smaller scale, there are specifications for each appliance that can be used to estimate their power usage. There can be variations depending on specific features, but there are some general average values that can be used to get a base idea of your power consumption. When it is needed, a full plug load analysis could be performed by e.g. the company providing the energy storage system, but this kind of specificity may not be necessary or cost effective to help you. A quick infographic created by Qlabe, an information site that compiles appliance statistics, is displayed below, showing the estimated annual consumption of various items in a house. Reference the Qlabe website to find a larger list of appliances and their average annual energy usage. From the infographic, you can see that the water heater, air conditioner and electric vehicle represent the largest loads annually. There is still relatively significant usage from conventional appliances like the refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, and washing machine. Another factor that will need to be taken into account for an island-mode energy storage system is the inrush current. When you turn on some types of devices, e.g. transformers and electrical motors, there is an instantaneous peak in current draw, and it is typically much higher than the steady state current that device utilizes in operation. There can be a scenario where the appliances are turned on somewhat simultaneously so an energy storage system may see a large momentary spike in current. This potential value needs to also be considered in the sizing of an island-mode inverter and energy storage system.

In any case, after this discussion with your intended supplier, there should now be a clearer understanding of how you plan to use a storage system. Maybe you need to backup essentials in case of a power outage. You may consider your electricity bill to be too expensive and you want to use a storage system overall to lower the energy used during peak periods of the day. Perhaps you have considered adding PV panels to your home, or you already have them, and want to optimize their use. It may be that you have made the investment in an electric vehicle and want to make sure the addition of the car charger has little to no impact on your electricity bill. Or it could be any combination of these needs. From here, the decision can be made as to what is most important. There is no one-size-fits-all analysis that can be done since the needs of the household varies for a number of factors, including but not limited to location, house size, type of heating, number of inhabitants, and date of house construction.

Depending on the energy and power size of the system purchased, now you can understand what can be backed up with a single system. There is a quick calculation that can be done to get a general idea. According to information from the Swedish Energy Agency and Statistics Sweden, the average daily usage of a Swedish residential customer is approximately 29 kWh. There are many variations in size, battery type and power output within the market-ready energy storage solutions. One of the smaller sizes on the residential market is a 4-kWh option. Using an oversimplification, this example system is capable of approximately 2.6 hours of storage for the average residential customer per the following calculation and an experience factor of 80% (based on the ideal state-of-charge window):

EQUATION

Granted, this is an oversimplification since an average is just that and does not represent the high and low points in usage for that household. There are also other factors to take into account such as time of day and time of year for energy consumption and other installed renewable energy sources.

This type of simplified calculations can also give you an idea of how many hours of storage you achieve with a smaller set of loads instead of an attempt at the full house. For instance, the basic loads you may want to back up are what you consider critical to maintain your comfort. This may include the refrigerator, freezer, certain lighting and outlet circuits, the internet, the computer and the coffee maker. The example 4-kWh system could support a set of devices like this for nearly 24 hours. In addition, this energy storage system could be coupled easily with additional systems to expand the coverage for a longer period or to support other necessities like small air conditioning units and electric vehicle chargers set to a low rate.

If backup is not the primary goal, the example 4-kWh system could be used multiple times in a day for peak reduction. The system could provide e.g. 4 kW continuously for a quarter-hour during three different intervals before the energy storage needs to be re-charged again. As the consumer, understanding the various idiosyncrasies associated with these decisions will ultimately lead you to a storage system you want and need.