NEC begins mass production of home energy storage systems in Kofu

TOKYO —

NEC Corp has begun mass production of electrical power and home energy storage systems at NEC Computertechno’s Kofu City campus.

In March 2012, NEC began selling home energy storage systems that its Sagamihara facilities started producing and shipping later in July that year. Today, NEC launched a new mass production line in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, which is capable of producing 10,000 units per year. Furthermore, NEC plans to establish an additional line in the second half of fiscal 2013, raising annual production capacity to 20,000 units.

In addition to home energy storage systems, NEC Computertechno’s Kofu campus is also producing demonstration equipment for middle and large scale energy storage systems for the Yokohama Smart City Project in Japan and Enel Distribuzione, an affiliate of Enel SpA, one of Italy’s leading electric power utilities.

NEC will continue producing electrodes for lithium-ion batteries and battery cells for energy storage systems at its Sagamihara facilities.

In recent years, as the need for greater power conservation has continued to grow, businesses and households have become increasingly conscious of the importance of reducing their power consumption, controlling energy use during peak afternoon hours, shifting power consumption from peak hours and introducing large scale solar energy production. Moreover, the need for energy storage systems to provide and maintain a “lifeline” of power in the event of emergencies, such as natural disasters and power outages, has also become more pronounced.

NEC Computertechno’s Kofu campus has traditionally managed the production of servers and computer equipment. The facility has now complete a highly efficient mass production line for energy storage systems by capitalizing on the know-how of production methods acquired through supply chain management (SCM) of server production and the use of quality measurement equipment, such as Anechoic Chambers and Thermostatic Chambers.

  • 3

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Cool! I want this technology for my home here in Tokyo ASAP!!

  • -7

    basroil

    Elbuda MexicanoFeb. 15, 2013 - 09:51AM JST

    Cool! I want this technology for my home here in Tokyo ASAP!!

    I hope you like lithium ion battery fires that kill hundreds, because even with 99.99% safety factor you're still looking at a dozen fires a year after 5 years.

  • 2

    Saulo Akazawa

    Sounds great!!! I wish the article had a bit more info on the specs and price.

  • 1

    Steve Fabricant

    Basroil - your post is quite a change from your generally well-informed ones, which as I recall have been supportive of the technology used on the 787. Now you claim that hundreds have been killed. Can you back this up with references?

  • 0

  • 2

    zichi

    badsay3

    interesting link. In the past I worked in a couple of jobs with high DC voltage and I hate the stuff.

  • 0

    badsey3

    Those solar units are 4kW and 8kW that should do it. Solar is DC and you do not have the the DC (solar) -> AC (typical home power) -> DC (electric motor refridge/ac etc) losses.

    This is sort of Edison's DC power dream I guess. Since you are not transferring power over large distance you can go all DC now. A big change in power that comes at the right time with the electrical rates going up.

    These Sharp solar panels are rated for 25yrs. I only wish the battery storage would be better. Lead acid with desulfators still seem to be the best/cheapest solution for solar. =By going Solar you become sort of a lead-acid battery master.

  • 0

    basroil

    Steve FabricantFeb. 15, 2013 - 09:33PM JST

    . Now you claim that hundreds have been killed. Can you back this up with references?

    That's easy, since when do you have trained mechanics checking your house every day? Hell, most houses aren't inspected in years. You really want to have something people will never even suspect catch on fire? There's enough fatal house fires from bad cables alone that we don't need even a one in a thousand chance of battery fires. And that's before knowing the failure rate will inevitably be higher when they do their first production rampup.

    badsey3Feb. 15, 2013 - 11:38PM JST

    Those solar units are 4kW and 8kW that should do it. Solar is DC and you do not have the the DC (solar) -> AC (typical home power) -> DC (electric motor refridge/ac etc) losses.

    I don't think you've ever taken apart a refrigerator have you... Practically all large home appliances use AC current internally, including the compressors in your fridge and ac unit, as well as your fans, water heaters, toasters, electric stoves, on and on and on. Maybe if you spent three times as much for DC only devices (not to mention cut through a wall of red tape), then you can get your three times more expensive energy with a 20% CO2 reduction after 20 years that also manufactured enough poison to kill everyone in the country.

    http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/includes/pdf/DGH051U0RFB0A.pdf

    Solar is a pretty big waste of power (whole 30000kWh per kW nameplate) and money compared to a dozen other things you can do.

  • 0

    Elbuda Mexicano

    @bassroil, thanks for that info! Scary but helps!!

  • 0

    Steve Fabricant

    Basroil, wouldn't a simple over-temperature sensor work to prevent fires, like the thermistor or switch that is used in rechargeable battery packs? Or even a fire-supression system? And isn't it likely that there large batteries would be stored outdoors, like the thermal-storage off-peak water heaters that we are seeing in new homes. And what does this mean: "whole 30000kWh per kW nameplate"???? Finally, since weight and probably size are not serious constraints, why not just go back to a proven safer type of cell? (Disclosure - I have a 4 kw solar system and according to my bills from the last 2 years, it will pay itself off in about 9 years. And prices have dropped and specific outputs risen substantially since I bought it.

  • 0

    basroil

    Steve FabricantFeb. 16, 2013 - 02:07PM JST

    Wouldn't a simple over-temperature sensor work to prevent fires, like the thermistor or switch that is used in rechargeable battery packs?

    It can help prevent charging/discharging related failure, but not spontaneous battery failure (like the likely cause of 787 batteries).

    Or even a fire-supression system?

    Water doesn't work, so you need halon extinguishers. Quite expensive to maintain, and would require annual (at minimum) inspections, which I can bet you most home owners will ignore.

    And isn't it likely that there large batteries would be stored outdoors, like the thermal-storage off-peak water heaters that we are seeing in new homes.

    Most people in Japan live in apartments or very tightly spaced houses. Unless you're one of those guys out in the middle of nowhere (where you would probably already have better equipment), it wouldn't really matter if it's inside or outside, both you and your neighbors are at some risk.

    And what does this mean: "whole 30000kWh per kW nameplate"????

    Should actually be 3000kWh per kW nameplate, and it means that for every 1kW of panels you install (measured at maximum conversion, not amount it's expected to get), you spend 3MWh in producing it. Most people ignore that energy when calculating how "green" their setup is.

    Finally, since weight and probably size are not serious constraints, why not just go back to a proven safer type of cell?

    Good question to ask them, no real reason to pick lithium over flooded lead acid batteries for any reason other than size and weight, and even that's only 50% more or so.

  • 0

    Steve Fabricant

    *Should actually be 3000kWh per kW nameplate, and it means that for every 1kW of panels you install (measured at maximum conversion, not amount it's expected to get), you spend 3MWh in producing it. Most people ignore that energy when calculating how "green" their setup is. * But any electricity source has an initial energy cost. I don't think coal-fired plants or nukes comes cheaply

    Finally, since weight and probably size are not serious constraints, why not just go back to a proven safer type of cell?
    

    Good question to ask them, no real reason to pick lithium over flooded lead acid batteries for any reason other than size and weight, and even that's only 50% more or so.

    Maybe Yuasa made them a special offer on aircraft-size batteries.........

  • 0

    basroil

    Steve FabricantFeb. 16, 2013 - 06:45PM JST

    But any electricity source has an initial energy cost. I don't think coal-fired plants or nukes comes cheaply

    Actually quite cheap, nuclear plants generally recoup their initial energy costs (including all the fuel they will ever use) in 6mo-1year (depending on size and PWR or BWR), coal plants can be less, and same with natural source hydro (not pumped hydro that makes up a quarter of the Japanese capacity. For every 1kWh you put to manufacture the source, mines, etc, nuclear gives you up to 50 kWh back, coal goes to 80kWh (slightly less for "clean coal"), and a good dam can get you up to 100kWh. Solar is about 5kWh in Japan (assuming no damage take it out earlier), so very, very inefficient energy wise.

    Theoretically, if Japan actually wanted to make more energy, they should invest in micro coal plants (say a 100kW plant that's good enough to power and heat a medium to large apartment building or office), since it has great return on energy (but horrible pollution, just like solar in northern parts of Japan)

  • 0

    Steve Fabricant

    The "initial carbon cost" argument is interesting but not very important. If we are only comparing the initial carbon costs, you are correct. But of course coal and gas plants continue to emit CO2 in rough proportion to their power output, so their life-cycle carbon footprints are very high. This is pretty obvious. Nuclear plants do have a low lifetime footprint (I'm using a 2006 UK Parliamentary Study for my data), but the problem of permanent safe disposal of waste products is very far from solved.

  • -1

    basroil

    Steve FabricantFeb. 16, 2013 - 11:49PM JST

    The "initial carbon cost" argument is interesting but not very important.

    No, not carbon cost, energy cost. In a closed loop here in Japan, energy cost of making energy is very important, since you'll end up seeing that the entire PV system is less efficient (in the long run) compared to just using the grid directly. If you spend 3MWh but only get back 4MWh, it's not very efficient, especially considering most people won't be lucky enough to run it that long. Just look at what happened in the NYC area with their panel in every lamppost initiative, one small hurricane and they lost 60%+ of their newly installed panels. Japan can't afford long payback periods.

  • 0

    Steve Fabricant

    According to what I find, present PV technologies has about a 50% disadvadvantage in total energy costs compared to present coal. In the future production costs of PV are likely to come down, while advanced coal technologies are predicted to increase. Factor in the CO2 costs and I think you're backing the wrong horse.

  • -2

    basroil

    Steve FabricantFeb. 18, 2013 - 08:05AM JST

    According to what I find, present PV technologies has about a 50% disadvadvantage in total energy costs compared to present coal.

    Actually 16x, you can even look it up on wiki if you don't have access to IEEE and JASTOR

    Factor in the CO2 costs and I think you're backing the wrong horse.

    CO2 wise nuclear and natural hydro are the cleanest, with PV a distant fourth.

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