December 8, 2010 — Reno-based Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. (Altairnano) (NASDAQ: ALTI) (NASDAQ: ALTID), has been selected by Inversiones Energéticas, S.A. de C.V. (INE), one of El Salvador’s largest electric utilities, to provide a turn-key 10 MW lithium-titanate based battery system, dubbed "ALTI-ESS," for frequency control. Energy storage solutions such as this help utilities balance power generation and load over short periods.
Under the proposed agreement, Altairnano will have responsibility for site preparation, system installation, training, final testing and commissioning of the total solution. The system will be located at INE’s Talnique power station site.
"Altairnano’s ALTI-ESS advanced battery system provides an economical solution for managing voltage and frequency fluctuations, because of its ability to rapidly absorb energy from the grid, and just as quickly discharge energy back into the grid," stated Terry Copeland, Altairnano President and Chief Executive Officer.
According to Altairnano, the nano-structured lithium titanate in the cell of the battery produces distinctive performance attributes, including extremely fast charge and discharge rates, the high round-trip efficiencies, long cycle life, safety, and ability to operate under diverse environmental and extreme temperature conditions.
Altairnano’s lithium titanate technology is also unique because it lacks a solid electrolyte interface (SEI), as shown. The SEI is a “film” on the anode that is an internal resistor that limits power output and generates heat build-up in a standard lithium-ion battery. Therefore, the lack of an SEI allows the lithium titanate battery to work efficiently in extreme temperatures and significantly reduces thermal runaway risk. In short, by removing the highly reactive graphite from the system design, and instead using nano-structured lithium titanate materials as the negative electrode material, no significant interaction takes place with the electrolyte.
The battery’s operating temperature range also is wider than that of other technologies: from -40°C to 55°C (-40°F to 131°F). This capability virtually eliminates the need for supplemental heating when the battery is used in low temperature environments and reduces or eliminates cooling requirements for high temperature operation.
Conventional lithium ion batteries can typically be charged about 1,000 times before they are considered no longer useful. In laboratory testing, the Altairnano energy storage and battery systems have achieved over 25,000 charge and discharge cycles at rates up to 40 times greater than common batteries, and still retain up to 80% of initial charge capacity.
Altairnano also claims its energy storage and battery systems deliver power per unit weight and unit volume several times greater than conventional lithium-ion batteries. Cell measurements performed with high power cell designs indicate specific power as high 4000 W/Kg and power density over 7,500 W/litre. By using nano-structured lithium titanate as the negative electrode material, the formation of an SEI, an electrochemical property that impedes the removal of lithium, which is the first step in power production, is eliminated.