The idea of installing large-capacity batteries in electric vehicles has slowed its way out of the lab and onto the streets, not only without greatness and greatness. One firm making this happen is Influit Energy, a Chicago-based startup out of Illinois Tech. The company has ambitious plans to expand its workforce and lab space, and is apparently eyeing Austin, Texas for its next big move. This could be…interesting!
Texas Hearts Power Tools
Strange as it may seem, the iconic oil-producing state of Texas tears up when the subject turns to electric cars.
If you’re thinking about Tesla, that’s a good guess, but that’s just one thing.
ERCOT, the agency that runs all but a small portion of the Texas grid, is in a unique position because it cannot trade electricity with other jurisdictions except through a relatively small deal with Mexico. This makes ERCOT particularly sensitive to new technologies and new opportunities.
“As an independent entity that counts under its umbrella innovative rural electric cooperatives, ERCOT can be a flexible platform to adapt to new energy technology.” CleanTechnica Observed in 2020. “The organization can also count on new research at the University of Texas and other leading public institutions, which means that Texas is regularly seen from around the world. CleanTechnica radar.”
ERCOT has been planning the EV future for the past 10 years or more. The agency correctly estimates that electric vehicles with mobile energy storage units can be deployed to offset grid-wide demand surges by coordinating charging times in the form of a virtual power plant. ERCOT is collaborating with ev.energy on the virtual power plant project.
Another fast-growing cleantech firm setting up shop in Texas is Octopus Energy. Earlier this summer, the company launched a new leasing plan aimed at accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles in Texas.
Then there’s the pickup factor, namely Ford’s popular F-150 Lightning electric truck. As the Texas grid suffers from one extreme weather event after another, early adopters are deploying their electrified pickups for backup power, further exacerbating the situation for electric vehicles.
Planning Ahead for the Future of the Home
ERCOT is also focusing on the transition to renewable energy. In October 2020, the agency formed a partnership with something called the Global Energy System Transformation Consortium. The G-PST consortium aims to remove barriers to integrating more renewable energy into the grid, and of course EVs play a big role in that effort.
Partnering with ERCOT on the G-PST platform joins other heavy hitters on the global grid operator scene, including the Australian Energy Market Operator, UK’s National Grid Electricity System Operator, California Independent System Operator, Ireland’s System Operator and Denmark’s System Operator, among others in Africa, Asia , other operators in all global markets, including Eastern Europe and Latin America, and a number of institutional technology partners.
Workforce development in Texas: It’s complicated
So here’s where it gets interesting, because no mention of Texas is complete without mentioning Republican Governor Greg Abbott and his Republican allies in the state legislature. government-owned and community-operated vessel status for breeding.
Texas enacted new restrictions on abortion access last fall Dobbs The anti-abortion ruling was handed down last June by all six Republican-appointed justices on the US Supreme Court.
The Dobbs The decision threw the abortion access ball back to Texas and other states. Texas isn’t the only state where predominantly Republican, white, male politicians are seizing the opportunity to repress the uterus-owning population, but it’s one state that’s working hard to create and attract a new clean-tech profile for itself. new clean technology jobs.
Texas Vs. Illinois for the flow battery of the future
Full effect Dobbs A clean-tech workforce development decision in Texas and other anti-abortion states has yet to emerge, but as recently as last fall Forbes magazine was among those raising a red flag.
last month, Bloomberg law has also raised an issue that makes employers think twice about doing business in Texas.
“The threat of abortion-related legal liability in Texas has raised difficult questions about companies’ plans to help their employees travel for out-of-state procedures, including how much sensitive employee information a company can be forced to disclose in court. ,” This was reported by Bloomberg Law.
Meanwhile, a significant number of US states continue to affirm that pregnant people have the right to manage their pregnancies as they wish. Among them is Influit Energy’s home state of Illinois.
So how serious is Influit Energy about picking up stake and moving from Chicago to Texas?
We’re guessing not too seriously, at least until Texas elects new politicians who respect the right to manage pregnancy.
Influit is looking for more lab space to take its EV-friendly flow battery to the next level, which it plans to increase its workforce. If they choose to move to Texas, that’s up to them.
Illinois Tech is rooting for the company to stay put. Last week, the school published a paper outlining Influit’s work over a period of more than 10 years, in which this observation appeared:
“As the contracts continue to pile up, the company is hiring new scientists and looking to expand from 2,100 square feet to 20,000 by acquiring new lab space. It is still unclear where the laboratory will be located. The co-founders hope to stay in Chicago, but say they are also considering opportunities in Austin, Texas.
More Batteries for More Electric Cars
When it comes to Influit’s flow battery technology for electric vehicles, the company has surpassed it CleanTechnica radar last December, when we noted its “nanotechnology-based functional fluids, or nanofluids, that enable powerful solutions for a variety of energy challenges.”
Flow batteries use the ability of special fluids in motion to generate electricity. The technology isn’t new, but early designs were big, bulky affairs. Innovators like Influit are working to reduce scale, improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Influit’s contribution to the field is a nanoparticle formulation that overcomes the adhesive barrier of substances that settle in solution.
“Unlike other flow batteries, Influit doesn’t dissolve anything. Instead, we suspend the battery nanoparticles in a base fluid. They are never settled and completely unsupported,” explains Influit.
When it comes to the all-important charging time, Influit’s flow battery system is rechargeable in the time it takes to fill a tank of gas. The charging station can be sized to fit in the back of a pick-up truck, for example, providing the new battery with the added benefit of mobility.
Influit has already attracted attention and funding from DARPA, the US Air Force and NASA. The company is currently working under the Air Force small business program to introduce a next-generation version of the nanofluid format, so stay tuned for more on that.
Follow me on Twitter @TinaMCasey.
Image: Flow battery for electric vehicles and other uses Courtesy of Influit.
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