With the generation cost of energy from wind and PV solar moving rapidly close to grid parity (i.e., when an alternative energy source can generate power at a levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) that is less than, or equal to, the price of purchasing power from the electricity grid), better energy storage devices with higher round-trip efficiency and longer life have become essential. Although traditional lead–acid batteries have a round-trip efficiency of only 80 to 85%, the technology is still widely used for energy storage systems as it is less expensive than other chemistries and is almost completely recycleable. The low efficiency is due to the energy consumed in charging batteries fully to avoid irreversible sulfation. Firefly’s Microcell Carbon Foam (MCF) technology, which was invented in the R&D Labs of CATERPILLAR, almost eliminates all the limitations of traditional lead–acid batteries. The advanced battery has a 3-dimensional architecture perfected by Firefly ― Carbon Foam grids are impregnated with a slurry of active material. The structure redistributes the electrolyte solution from the small separator reservoir of a conventional battery to the highly porous foam plates. Consequently, each Microcell has its full complement of active material and sulfuric acid and thereby increases the efficiency of the lead–acid chemistry. A round-trip efficiency of over 90% is achieved under partial state-of-charge duty, together with a 2 to 3 times increase in service life compared with tradition technology. Accordingly, MCF batteries are particularly suitable for renewable energy storage in remote locations and on islands. For example, in January 2017 Firefly supplied 7.1 MWh of MCF Batteries to the Miyazaki PV Project on Kyushu Island, Japan.
Firefly International Energy Co.
Mr Mukesh Bhandari is the Founder and Chairman of Firefly International Energy, Illinois, USA and Electrotherm India Ltd., Gujarat, India. Before establishing Electrotherm, he worked with Bharat Heavy Electric Ltd. (R&D) and General Electric Co. Mr Bhandari is the member of the Institution of Indian Foundrymen, the World Steel Association, and the Indian National Academy of Engineering.
Manager - Design & Development
Balaji Balasundaram is Manager of Design & Development at Firefly Batteries Private Limited. His role includes activities related to designing and developing Microcell Carbon Foam Batteries.
He completed his B.Tech in Chemical & Electrochemical Engineering at C.E.C.R.I., Karaikudi, India in 2007. After four years of Industrial experience, he completed a Masters in Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion (M.E.S.C) from a consortium of European Universities headed by Universite Picardie Jules Verne, Chemin Du Thil, 80025 Amiens, France. During his Masters he received a grant of 24,000€ from Alistore & Umicore. He has successfully defended his thesis titled “Synthesis Of Silicon Based Composite Anode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries”.
He has experience in Lead Acid Batteries, Lithium Ion Batteries and other Energy Storage Devices. He has more than 10 years of experience in Research & Development, Manufacturing Operations, and Process Enhancement & Cost Saving Initiatives in the energy storage devices.