Interview: Jonas Eklind

Jonas Eklind,
CEO at Azelio

“Please tell our readers about Azelio”

Azelio is a Swedish-based company, with roots in the automotive cluster of Western Sweden. Founded in 2008, the company has been focused on turning waste gas into electricity, with over 170 installations worldwide. Since the last 3 years Azelio has turned its focus storage of renewable energy from solar and wind, and recently installed its energy storage on the impressive Noor solar complex in Morocco. Azelio has close collaborations with Moroccan Masen (Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy) and Abu Dhabi-based energy giant Masdar.

“Advanced Energy Storage Solutions are the need of the hour for sustainable RE generation. What kind of energy storage solutions does Azelio bring to the industry?”

Azelio has a unique solution for storing renewable energy in recycled aluminum and make it available and affordable as electricity and heat at all hours of the day. The system is scalable from 0,1MW up to 100MW and can be charged with energy from solar and wind power. Azelio’s system has the unique capability of working together with renewable technologies like solar PV and wind power, replacing diesel as a sustainable baseload for a reliable and renewable supply of electricity and heat.

How it works: The recycled aluminum in Azelio’s storage is heated up to 600 degrees C, by electricity from solar PV and wind power. The heat can at any point of time be withdrawn from the storage to a Stirling engine for the production of electricity and delivery of heat, of up to 90% conversion from energy to energy. The storage has a capacity of electricity production for 13 hours at a nominal effect, or longer when adjusting to lower demand. As an example, solar PV produces power when the sun shines, while Azelio is charging its storage, and during night Azelio is delivering power.

Azelio’s solution has zero emissions, no rare minerals and suffers no degradation in storage capacity over time.

“What are the recent projects undertaken as well as in the pipeline for Azelio?”

Azelio has two pre-commercial installations, one at the Noor solar power complex in Morocco, and one in Sweden. Later this year two additional projects will be installed in Abu Dhabi. In the last 6 months, Azelio has signed several MoUs in sub-Sharan Africa, in the Middle East, and California.

Firs two commercial projects will be installed during 2020 and serial production will begin during 2021.

“Azelio was awarded Mission Innovation Champion. What kind of recognition does it offer to Azelio’s aim of providing clean energy innovation and making clean energy reliable & affordable?”

Azelio’s CEO Jonas Eklind was awarded Mission Innovation Champion in 2019, which is a recognition of the progress made within the area of speeding up the renewable transition. Mission Innovation is a global initiative with 24 member countries and the European Commission with the mission to accelerate clean energy innovation. In 2019 Azelio was also on Mission Innovation’s list of the top 100 innovations for reducing Co2 emissions.

“What are the present trends that are been observed in the energy storage sector? How it is changing the business landscape for a greener tomorrow?”

Different energy storage solutions are needed for various needs. However, what we can see is an increased need for storage and production close to end-users. And while big installations of >100MW take years to finalize, scalable solutions are getting more attractive as they can generate renewable power from day one and scale up from that.

Another important trend to raise is the challenges that come with an increased amount of renewables where centralized power grids are existing. As power grids are not updated in parallel with the fast expansion of distributed renewable production, the load from the intermittent solutions becomes too heavy, creating breakdowns and event nature catastrophes. In this situation, Azelio can use its long duration storage capabilities to balance the feed to the grid and secure a balanced load to the grid.

“What are your views on emerging Asian Renewable Energy Market like India? Any plans to foray into the same?”

India is a very interesting country for Azelio, where we could make a big difference in the establishment of renewable power solutions. With a grid system that will have challenges with distributed intermittent production, Azelio’s storage can put relief on the grid and/or secure local storage and supply of electricity and heat to for example industrial and commercial users.

“As Energy Storage becomes an integral aspect of the clean and reliable energy source of power generation, what future do you see for the technology-driven energy storage solution in the next 3-5 years?”

Without going too deep into this question. The major importance for the future is to make renewable power solutions dispatchable, which means that you can deliver renewable energy on demand. Azelio has this possibility today, which is a big advantage, but this is needed for all solutions to have a renewable transition to meet climate goals. As it is today, the distributed renewable power expansion with solar PV and wind power brings along a big market for diesel to secure a reliable supply of energy. Long-duration storage with dispatchable and affordable energy can replace diesel.

Interview 16/03/2020 by News Bureau
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