GE announces $63MM in new orders for breakthrough battery

Source: GE

GE's (NYSE: GE) Energy Storage business announced $63 million in new Durathon battery orders since the business launched in July. In its first weeks of operation, the business secured 10 new telecom customer orders across several regions, including Africa, Asia, India and the U.S. - powering a total of more than 3,500 cell towers. The breakthrough battery provides reliable and cost-effective energy storage options for a broad range of global customers and is being produced at GE’s advanced manufacturing factory here.

Prescott Logan, General Manager, GE Energy Storage said, “Durathon batteries help solve key challenges for customers in emerging markets, where power outages and cycle disruption are prevalent, and in developed markets where batteries currently take up large spaces in cramped urban centers. The technology is unique because it can function in a variety of extreme conditions and store as much energy as lead-acid batteries twice its size while lasting up to 10 times as long.”

GE’s innovative Durathon battery technology works by employing environmentally responsible sodium chemistry to capture excess energy from the diesel fuel generators. When the generator is off and the battery is fully charged, it feeds the stored power back to the cell tower. This hybrid, cyclic charge/discharge operation reduces fuel consumption by up to 40 percent.

With headquarters in Nairobi, Telecommunication, Power and ICT Service Provider, Adrian Company LDT is among GE’s newest Durathon battery customers.

Bernard Njoroge, Group Managing Director, Adrian Group of Companies, noted, “Our main challenge is downtime due to frequent power outages on the grid. For our sites located in densely populated areas where wireless signals and data transmission loads are heaviest, the Durathon battery has proven to be the perfect innovation solution for us to implement.”

The Durathon battery can help extend mobile phone service to billions of people worldwide by helping generator-powered cell towers operate more efficiently, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With more than one billion people – and potential cell phone subscribers – living in remote areas with no accessible power grid, operators are often forced to continuously power cellular base stations using diesel fuel. This costs an average of $20,000 to $30,000 per site and adds more than 50 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year.

Megatron Federal, an engineering company based in Johannesburg, South Africa, was the first customer to sign a purchase agreement for 700 batteries in early 2012, adding 300 more shortly thereafter. The company with products and services in power generation, transmission, distribution, construction and telecommunications, signed another agreement to purchase 6,000 batteries when GE Energy Storage formally opened the new Schenectady facility. These batteries will ensure the continuous operation of telecom installations in Nigeria. They will also enable Megatron to lower both fuel consumption and emissions of diesel generator powered telecom towers by up to 50 percent.

GE ecomagination Vice President, Mark Vachon said, “It is estimated that the telecom industry accounts for two percent of the total world carbon footprint and could reach an alarming four percent by 2020 if solutions aren’t implemented in the near-term.1 We know that in this current global context, we must stay laser focused on what our customers need to make their operations more productive, resource efficient, and environmentally smart.”

GE Energy Storage is experiencing increased demand for the technology with other new orders set to be finalized. By mid-2013, GE anticipates having more than 1,000 hybrid telecom installations worldwide and over five times that number by year-end.

Investing in Advanced Manufacturing Solutions

On July 10, 2012 GE, announced the official opening of GE Energy Storage’s high-tech battery manufacturing facility, which produces the ecomagination-qualified Durathon battery products and was a result of GE’s $100 million initial investment in battery technology developed at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY following its strategic acquisition of UK-based Beta R&D. The Durathon batteries are the result of GE’s unprecedented investment in research and development that leads to breakthrough products.



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