The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 29, 2012

EP helping write ‘new chapter in story’ of energy

JOPLIN, Mo. — Capturing wind and solar energy to create electricity is a key element in the national goal of becoming less dependent on fossil fuels.

But what happens when clouds obscure the sun or the wind is not strong enough to blow out a candle? How can the peaks and valleys of variable output be controlled to create a steady stream of reliable energy?

EaglePicher Technologies, a Joplin-based manufacturer of batteries for space, military and medical applications, has come up with a possible answer to those questions.

On Friday, during a press conference at the manufacturing plant, the company unveiled the PowerPyramid — a hybrid battery that combines old and new technologies to form a cell that fits inside a portable cargo container.

“We are here to acknowledge and participate in the start of a new chapter in the story of the energy industry in the United States and quite possibly the world,’’ said Randy Moore, president of EaglePicher Technologies.

“The ability to store electricity on a mass scale solves a number of problems for our energy future,’’ he said. “For the problem of alternative energy stabilization, when the wind stops blowing or clouds pass across the sky, mass storage fills in the gaps caused by the intermittency or unreliability of alternative energy.’’

Instead of your standard ribbon-cutting ceremony, the system was commissioned with the throwing of a giant switch. After that, Moore offered a champagne toast to the future of Joplin and the jobs that are expected to be created by the new product.

After the commissioning of the battery, Gary Burton, who works as a lobbyist for EaglePicher in Jefferson City, said the potential of the PowerPyramid could be enormous.

“I know that industry is interested in this project,” he said. “They’re interested in anything that can save them money and help them manage their power costs.’’

In addition to creating a steady stream of power from unsteady sources, Moore said the giant batteries can be used to lower the cost of electrical power for an industrial user. Power purchased during daylight hours — the hours of peak demand — can be four to five times more expensive in some areas of the country when compared with the power purchased at night when demand for electrical energy falls.

Said Moore: “For the problem of peak-energy-differential cost, mass electricity storage can store inexpensive energy at night and utilize that energy in the daytime, when it is more expensive because demand is so high relative to generating capacity.’’

Moore said the PowerPyramid is not a product of a startup company. It comes from a company with a long tradition of producing reliable and long-lived batteries. He said the company’s medical implant batteries can last for 10 years. Its batteries for weapon systems can last 20 years.

“EaglePicher batteries powered the Hubble Telescope for 19 years on a spec anticipated to last five to seven years,’’ he said, noting that EP batteries power the International Space Station and more than 400 orbiting satellites.

Said Moore: “Reliability is pretty important when you’re talking about equipment hooked up to the grid.’’

Ron Nowlin, vice president and general manager of EP Technologies, said the PowerPyramid involves three chemistries to optimize the life of the battery. One layer is lithium ion, a newer and more expensive technology. Three layers are of tubular lead acid and six layers are of lead acid, one of the least expensive and oldest battery chemistries on the market today.

Nowlin said the components for the battery are put through strict quality-control tests at the company’s manufacturing site in the Crossroads Business and Distribution Park. The components are produced in controlled environments that eliminate the potential for contamination. With some of the components, robotic stackers are used to assemble the batteries. X-rays are used to verify that the battery welds are solid.

To test the battery’s operating platform and controls, EaglePicher is using one 10-kilowatt wind turbine and 20 kilowatts of solar generating capacity at its plant.

Nowlin said the platform gives potential buyers of the system an opportunity to observe a functioning unit. A selling feature for the battery will be its flexibility in that it can be designed to deliver varying levels of power in 100-kilowatt building blocks.

The unit at the plant can deliver one megawatt of power for up to two hours. That would be enough energy to operate the Crossroads plant for three to four hours, a company spokesman said. Smaller portable versions of the battery could be developed for military applications. Several cells could be linked together to create a battery as large as a football field.

Patent pending

A patent for the EaglePicher battery is pending.

Text Only
Local News
  • Carthage Council reorganizes

    The Carthage City Council has one new member after Paul McCoy was sworn in as Ward 2 councilman on Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Nevada City Attorney chosen to advise Neosho Ethics Board

    The Neosho City Council on Monday appointed Bill McCaffree, Nevada city attorney, as special counsel to the Neosho Ethics Board. McCaffree will provide the ethics board with legal advice as it investigates an ethics complaint against council members Steve Hart and David Ruth. The vote to hire McCaffree was 3-2, with Hart and Ruth voting against the motion.

    April 22, 2014

  • Jasper County Commission approves contract for storage building expansion

    The Jasper County Commission on Tuesday approved a contract to expand an equipment storage building at the county’s Highway Department Complex on North River Street. The commissioners accepted a bid from Matt Denney Construction Co., Carthage, to build the 3,000-square-foot addition at a cost of $62,375.

    April 22, 2014

  • Carthage School Board advances funding for building projects

    Financing for a series of building projects planned in the Carthage School District was advanced Monday by members of the Carthage School Board. The board approved a resolution authorizing the sale of $18 million in bonds to finance a series of building improvements and approved lease-purchase financing for the early childhood center currently under construction.

    April 22, 2014

  • Nixon: Tax-cut bill holds fatal flaw; area lawmakers say stance totally false

    Another year has brought yet another tax-cut fight between Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly, and on Tuesday, Nixon announced that he had found what he sees as a fatal flaw.

    April 22, 2014

  • NEO_Big_Event - Bright.jpg NEO students step up for Big Event

    Leann Hartman has a 30-foot ditch filled with leaves that she has to clean out every spring. For the retired schoolteacher, this usually means paying a company to clean it for her, only to have to do it again the following year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Golf tournament supports SIDS research, awareness

    There are probably a lot of reasons the Marshall Dean Keller Memorial Golf Tournament continues to grow year after year, but one of the biggest just might be the cause it supports.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • r042214earthday.jpg Local group launches clean air plan on Earth Day

    It was an Earth Day first for Stephany Aquinaga, a pre-med student and member of the biology club at Missouri Southern State University. “This is the first time I have ever planted a tree,” she said.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho teachers express support for Common Core State Standards

    Neosho teachers on Monday voiced their full support for Common Core State Standards. They made their statements to board members during the Neosho Board of Education meeting as an agenda item.

    April 22, 2014

  • Gov. Nixon raises new concern about income tax cut

    Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon raised new concerns Tuesday that a tax cut the Legislature approved could have “cataclysmic” consequences for state revenues — an assertion a Republican legislative leader dismissed as “absurd.”

    April 22, 2014

Must Read


Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that a tax cut approved by the Legislature could have a “cataclysmic” effect on state revenues to the tune of $4.8 billion. House Majority Leader John Diehl calls that “absurd.” Who do you believe?

A. Nixon
B. Diehl
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter