|Depiction of hybrid energy storage system (UltraBattery) applied in renewable power generation. Click to enlarge.|
Australia’s CSIRO and Cleantech Ventures have invested in technology start-up Smart Storage Pty Ltd to develop and commercialize energy storage systems based on a hybrid battery which combines an asymmetric supercapacitor and a lead-acid battery in a single unit cell. Advanced materials used for the electrodes and current management absorb and release charge rapidly and at efficiencies well above conventional battery types.
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.
The Smart Storage technology is based on CSIRO’s Ultrabattery which has been successfully trialed in hybrid vehicles, according to Dr Wright: the series hybrid aXcessaustralia concept from CSIRO in 2000, and Holden’s ECOmmodore parallel hybrid (earlier post).
In the hybrids, CSIRO combined a 60-volt battery pack with a 150-volt supercapacitor pack. This provided enough energy to operate in electric only mode for around 30 minutes and enough power for good acceleration. Subsequently, CSIRO combined the two into a single battery unit—the Ultrabattery. A production quantity has been made in Japan and the batteries are under test in Toyota, Honda and Suzuki, according to CSIRO.
As envisioned for the stationary power market, the UltraBattery would be based on 2V, 1000 Ah cells. Each string will have 12 cells (24V, 1000Ah) with four strings in each system (48 cells).
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. Too often new technologies simply aren’t affordable and that significantly retards market uptake.—Andrew Pickering, a Principal at Cleantech Ventures
Overview of Technology Innovation in Australia (John Wright, CSIRO)