BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – A battery manufacturer that’s preparing to ramp up production has a business model that should be a no-brainer for its target customer.
Ashlawn Energy is this month’s Koffman Innovations feature.
Ashlawn was founded in 2008 by energy researcher Norma Byron and moved to the Koffman Incubator in 2018.
It produces batteries using vanadium, a metal that, in powder form, is added to a sulfuric acid solution producing a medium that is good for storing energy.
Byron says Ashlawn makes larger scale batteries that can power buildings more efficiently by storing electricity at low-peak rates and discharging it at high-peak times.
“If you charge off-peak and use the power on-peak, you can save a lot of money on your electric bill,” Byron says. “We think that our batteries are best for multi-family or commercial or industrial uses that are larger than a single family home.”
Byron says that because the batteries spread out demand, it helps to reduce the amount of time that fossil-fuel burning power plants are operating at maximum capacity which is less efficient and more polluting.
And what makes the value proposition so strong for building owners is that there’s no cost to purchasing or installing the system.
Ashlawn makes its money from grid revenue paid by the New York State Public Service Commission.
Byron started her career working for a weapons and ammunition manufacturer.
She decided to take what she learned about fuel cells and batteries and put it to a different use.
“It makes me feel good to try to do good for society and the world to do that, as opposed to making bullets to blow it up. So, I just feel a lot better about what I’m doing now.”
Byron says that unlike lithion-ion batteries, her vanadium batteries won’t catch fire because they are 70% water.
She says a demonstration project at an apartment building in Brooklyn is saving 50 to 60 percent in electricity costs.
Byron says she’s identified 400,000 buildings in New York City that could benefit from the cost savings as well as earn compliance with a new law in the city requiring building’s to curb their greenhouse gas emissions.
She says she plans to go into regular production of the batteries soon and will be hiring assembly workers as well as back office personnel.