CleanStart Perspectives with Christoph Lienemann of PEM Motion

CleanStart Perspectives with Christoph Lienemann of PEM Motion

Join us as we chat with Christoph Lienemann of PEM Motion about future mobility battery projects.

Christoph Lienemann is responsible for the North American operations of PEM Motion, a consulting and engineering company focused on future mobility solutions and their industrialization. He manages their teams in Canada, Mexico, and the USA. PEM Motion helped establish the California Mobility Center, a Sacramento-based public-private innovation hub and industry-sized tech shop enabling the future of mobility.

CleanStart Perspectives are short online conversations to connect the greater Sacramento clean tech entrepreneurship community and share insights, experiences, and outlooks. Join us as we welcome our featured guests to share their perspective on what entrepreneurs and innovators can do to thrive and grow.

Register and we’ll send you the Zoom login information prior to the meeting time.

CleanStart Perspectives are recorded through Zoom.

CleanTech Meetup: Energy Storage

CleanTech Meetup: Energy Storage

Desten Takes Another Step Toward Fast Charging

Desten Takes Another Step Toward Fast Charging

We have written several times about the opportunities and challenges of ultrafast charging systems.  Here is an article on a recent development.   Hong Kong-based company Desten is promoting its 900 kW charging system and the remarkable battery that goes with it, promising a 250-mile charge in under 5 minutes.  And, yes, it is always good to be a little skeptical of these claims, but in general it is clear that multiple companies continue to push the envelope on what is possible.  Desten is targeting putting the system at existing service stations. As we have noted before, part of the solution on fast charging is likely to involve putting a bank of batteries between the grid and the chargers to avoid the chargers slamming the grid.  Desten has exactly that idea and would include a container full of batteries on-site as well.  It is not clear if the system works only with their batteries, but Desten is going to need allies among the EV manufacturers to get its system into the market.  It seems to have a deal with Swiss sports car company Piëch.  Desten’s battery apparently has an energy density of 160 Wh/kg, less than the best in EVs now, but does not need an active cooling system.  

An interesting development and one to watch.

New Horizons in the Relationship Between Ratepayers and the Utility

New Horizons in the Relationship Between Ratepayers and the Utility

If you were ever curious about the new ways utilities may be relating to their customers now and in the future, a great way to get a quick introduction is to watch the video of this outstanding discussion on the topic we did on December 3.  It was probably the most informative MeetUp we have had, and one of the most popular with 46 people attending.  If you missed it, you can view the recording on our YouTube Channel and below.

We had three outstanding speakers.  Dr. Karen Herter started things off by reviewing her experiments on getting amazing demand reductions using clever communications technology and instantaneous information on the changing prices of electricity.  She had done one experiment piggybacking a signal on  the FM broadcast of local Capital Radio.  Another used a small in-home receiver.  But that was a minor part of what she found out.  She had customers use a number of interactive thermostats and pre-cooling settings to see what those customers considered the best combination of features and ease of use.  With the best system there were astonishing cost savings and demand reduction, far more than Time of Day rates had achieved.  She is on loan to the CEC to help them devise the best strategies for applying her work.  The key she indicated was getting a much better database of rates and communication protocols with standardization so that more vendors of energy-saving equipment can rely on that information to control their devices.

Tanya Barham of the Community Energy Lab in Oregon talked about her experience, borne out of various companies she had worked for previously, in finding simple systems to apply AI control to reduce energy use and costs in schools, churches and municipal buildings.  She sees this expanding to become part of the strategy for decarbonizing buildings.  She agreed that the kind of database work Dr. Herter was doing was absolutely essential to provide wider applications of user-based demand reductions.  In her work, she was seeing a two-month payback on investments made in simple software systems and sensors to manage building energy use.  

Ryan Braas of SMUD introduced us to the SMUD Energy Store, an initiative that is showing great results in getting energy-saving devices in the hands of users through an online store.  SMUD is continuing to expand its offerings on the Store site, but one of the most popular features, Ryan said, was the “Instant Rebate”.  While utilities across the country offer rebates to customers purchasing various energy-saving devices, often a great deal of paperwork and wait time is needed to actually get the money—fill out a form, mail it in with a copy of the receipt for the device and a copy of a recent bill to verify one is a customer of the utility, wait for the request to be entered into the system at the utility and 30-60 day later a check arrives in the mail.  With the Energy Store, the rebate is taken immediately and deducted from the price of the device.  The user is already verified as a customer and the proof of purchase is inherent as a part of the process.  So bingo no wait, no extra paperwork.  This is a great example of a utility establishing an entirely new relationship with its customers, one the customers end up valuing highly.  If you are SMUD customer and haven’t visited the Energy Store you should.  Go the the site and find it.

The three presentations were followed by a lively Q&A, and more importantly, the audience used the Chat Room function to ask questions and get answers there as well.  This is really becoming a very useful way to inform our cleantech community.  If you haven’t attended one of these monthly sessions, you really should.  We clearly are getting people far from our home territory participating, and that is making it all the better.

Thomas Hall


Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart's Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, River City Bank

Moss, Greenberg Traurig, California Mobility Center

Keep your Electronics Running

Keep your Electronics Running

Ever wondered what would happen to all your communication devices, smart home devices or refrigerator when power is lost from the grid. You no longer need to worry about losing access to those devices when using Off The Wall Energy’s Personal Energy Platform. 

Bob Guimarin of Off The Wall Energy is creating the Personal Energy Platform, a portable micro-energy storage system with real-time awareness of grid and off-grid availability. It works much like a mini-Tesla power wall, but located inside your home at each wall outlet, maintaining power to your most critical devices.

The Personal Energy Platform is a power management system that can be charged at night and discharged during the day, negating the use of grid power when rates are high. It can be plugged into a 120V/240V AC wall outlet and directly connects to your AC and DC devices. It has a unique approach to lower energy waste by connecting native DC devices directly to the Personal Energy Platform without the use of individual device AC/DC inverter power cords. Current plans are for two models, a 440W CommHub unit that can be used to power your home communication devices and a 2000W (2kWh) PowerPlus unit that can power refrigerators and more. 

The Personal Energy Platform is an attractive consumer-oriented product designed for maximum flexibility and ease of use.  All the while operating autonomously to support your critical communications, security systems, food preservation, and home medical devices without the need to swap power cords or impacting your lifestyle choices.

If you want to learn more about Off The Wall Energy, make sure you come to our meetup on February 27, 2020

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