CSIRO examines 24/7 renewable power

DEVELOPMENT and commercialisation of the first hybrid battery suitable for storing electricity from renewable energy sources is a step closer, with CSIRO and Cleantech Ventures investing in technology company Smart Storage.
CSIRO examines 24/7 renewable power CSIRO examines 24/7 renewable power CSIRO examines 24/7 renewable power CSIRO examines 24/7 renewable power CSIRO examines 24/7 renewable power

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, said Dr John Wright, director of the CSIRO Energy Transformed National Research Flagship.

"Cost effective, high performance energy storage has been the missing link for renewable energy."

Current battery storage solutions undergo frequent deep discharging and are unable to meet high power demands. They are also expensive due to high initial cost and short battery life.

The Smart Storage technology is based on CSIRO's 'Ultrabattery', which Dr Wright said had been successfully trialled in hybrid vehicles.

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 absorb and release charges rapidly and at efficiencies well above conventional battery types.

It is expected 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."