Smarter energy storage

Monday, 26 November, 2007

Development of the first hybrid battery suitable for storing electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind is now a step closer, according to CSIRO and Cleantech Ventures.

The companies have invested in technology start-up Smart Storage Pty Ltd to develop and commercialise battery-based storage solutions.

Director of the CSIRO Energy Transformed National Research Flagship Dr John Wright said the Smart Storage battery technology aims to deliver a low-cost, high-performance, high-power stationary energy storage solution suitable for grid-connected and remote applications.

Technology development is now underway to produce a low-cost and easily manufactured deep-cycle stationary battery that meets demanding variable operating conditions.

The Smart Storage technology is a hybrid battery which combines an asymmetric ‘supercapacitor’ electrode and a lead-acid battery in a single unit cell. Advanced materials used for the electrodes and current management claim to absorb and release charge rapidly and at efficiencies well above conventional battery types.

It is expected that the discharge and charge power of the Smart Storage battery will be 50% higher and its cycle life at least three times longer than that of the conventional lead-acid counterpart.

“Most importantly, our technology development path is directed towards manufacturing in existing lead-acid battery plants,” said Andrew Pickering, a principal at Cleantech Ventures.

“Too often new technologies simply aren’t affordable and that significantly retards market uptake.

“Investments in energy storage technologies have excellent potential for strong returns given the growing market demand and the lack of viable solutions. We now have investments in two energy storage technology companies, V-Fuel which targets grid-scale renewable energy storage applications and now Smart Storage for smaller renewable energy systems.”

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