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Aquion Saltwater batteries for $200/kWh

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by TheTalkingMule, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    So Aquion makes saltwater hybrid batteries for residential and larger applications, but their 2.2 - 25kWh batteries retails for something like $420-520/kWh. Well today they claim they can get down to $200/kWh wholesale in as little as 2 years.

    Pretty sick to think about a 26kWh maintenance-free home battery for a little over $5k in the very near future. Logic dictates that these will quickly then fall to $100/kWh or less. What the hell happens then? Stringing together three 10kWh versions of this(redundancy) for $3k and you can easily go off grid for good in sunnier parts of the world.

    Aquion cuts cost reduction target by eight years

    At what point will Tesla Energy expand into similar battery chemistries that may be more suitable for residential applications? I'd love to see what Elon could do to the price of this kind of stationary battery tech.
     
  2. deonb

    deonb Supporting Member

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    In 2 years it will have to compete with $100/kWh Lithium batteries.

    What makes these better?
     
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  3. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    These seem more stable, you don't have to actively cool them and I believe they can cycle better than something like a Powerwall. To me it seems like the medium term price floor for tech like this would be much lower than lithium that requires active cooling and expensive raw materials.
     
  4. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    I certainly like the sound of $100-200/kwh way better than $400-1000/kwh.

    The way I see it, regarding which is better, both systems (Tesla and Aquion) are sufficiently safe that I am willing to use either indoors and/or right next to my house. There is value in being smaller than larger, even in a stationary setting, so that is a minor advantage to Tesla.

    There is value in using chemicals that can't / won't burn (Aquion), so my first pass at an answer to which is better will be based on the price of the fully integrated and installed system, along with the usability of that system.

    An element that I don't know deeply, but currently rate as a tie, is the number of cycles each system is designed for.


    For today, where I'm not yet personally making a decision, these are sounding close enough in utility, that they will provide economic substitution for each other, and thus competition between the two will drive prices down. That's good enough for me for now (I figure I'm 2-5 years away from adding a battery and solar to our new house, so for now I'm just monitoring possibilities, not making a decision).
     
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  5. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    It looks like Aquion filed for Chapter 11 yesterday. It was such a promising technology, but it looks like they couldn't raise the capital required to achieve their cost reductions. I happened to look at batteries at Wholesale Solar yesterday and saw a price for the "pallet style" ~28kWh pack for about $17,500. Then, later in the day it said "Call" instead of listing a price. I think the reorg filing is the reason why.

    Hyped battery maker Aquion Energy files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
     
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  6. techmaven

    techmaven Active Member

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    That's sad to see.

    Beyond the challenge of making new technology actually work is to achieve enough scale to make new technology compete effectively. That's why Tesla's approach to grow the demand for batteries in both vehicles and stationary storage that de-risks each other is quite brilliant.
     
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  7. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    It's gonna be really difficult bordering on impossible... for any chemistry to complete with lithium ion simply due to the HUGE economy of scale advantage Lithium has...
     
  8. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    Sad to see - I hope we see somebody else pick up the technology and continue developing it. The economies of scale is going to be a real problem for them to overcome, and something I've worried about. On the other hand, maybe there's an angle around utility scale storage that can help create that scale they need to achieve.

    As a consumer, as much as I want to see Tesla succeed and bring prices down, I want to see somebody else to ALSO succeed and bring prices down. I believe the competition will be good for me as a consumer.
     
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  9. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    Shame they couldn't make it just another 18 months til storage gets a bit of traction.

    Much like Tesla, it's not the product, it's the execution. Once I saw their manufacturing process I was worried they'd never hit the necessary price point. Seemed like such an obvious candidate for fully automated production. Plastic boxes with salt water and a few other simple components. I believe the CEO's background was entirely academic, perhaps that was part of the problem.

    Maybe Elon can spare a few million from his personal stash to buy up the tech? I can tell you for sure that our governor in PA would be willing to do quite a bit for anyone willing to take over their production facility and scale. From what i understand, they have a manufacturing facility that was utilizing only 20% of footprint.
     
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  10. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    The fundamental problem is how much capital would be required to get them to true mass production so they could hit their cost target. As Elon is fond of saying, it comes down to first principles. What would the eventual total burdened cost of goods be for this type of battery? They had big-time investors like Kleiner Perkins involved, so if there was a path to a competitive product, I'm sure they would have seen it through. Now that Tesla Energy is a real thing in the market, there is a clear benchmark that you have to compete against. If Kleiner Perkins threw in the towel, there must not have been a viable path to compete against Tesla.
     
  11. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    I'm very interested in find an answer to that question and will take up the task when time permits. I just can't imagine a battery based on salt water, plastic, manganese oxide, and carbon titanium phosphate would be more expensive than the powerwall from a first princples perspective.

    I guess the drawback was footprint being significantly greater than any Tesla product and the inability to compete with Gigfactory's scale. To me it seemed like a superior "put it in the basement and forget about it" product for residential applications. Zero fire danger, greater durability, potentially lower price point, etc...

    I'll post if I ever figure out a cost makeup.
     
  12. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    To me, the most attractive form factor for the Aquion battery is the pallet style pack that they developed. However, it's only convenient if the install location is reachable with a pallet jack. It would be relatively difficult to install in a basement, even if the electrolyte was put in after it was in position. The footprint is 46"x52". Also, it's just a battery. You still need an inverter-charger unit to go with it. I think that is one thing that makes it particularly difficult for people to compete with Tesla now.

    aquion-energy-aquion-m110-ls83-sodium-ion-battery-580-ah-48-volt-usa-battery-3879126392.png
     
  13. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    Probably the quantity of material required. 1/10 the cost doesn't help if you need 10x as much.
     

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