|The UltraBattery concept. Click to enlarge.|
Japan’s Furukawa Battery Company and US manufacturer East Penn signed an international commercialization and distribution agreement for the UltraBattery technology developed by Australia’s CSIRO. (Earlier post.) CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, is Australia’s national science agency.
CSIRO’s UltraBattery combines an asymmetric supercapacitor (an enhanced-power negative electrode) and a lead acid battery in a single unit, creating a hybrid car battery that lasts longer, costs less and is more powerful than current technologies used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
In January, a hybrid electric test vehicle equipped with a CSIRO UltraBattery system passed 100,000 miles (161,000 km) on the test track.
The exclusive sub-license agreement will see the UltraBattery distributed by East Penn to the automotive and motive power sector throughout North America, Mexico and Canada while Furukawa Battery Company will release the technology in Japan and Thailand.
Previous tests show the UltraBattery has a life cycle that is at least four times longer and produces 50% more power than conventional lead-acid energy storage systems. The technology is approximately 70% less expensive than the NiMH batteries currently used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
The UltraBattery’s PSOC (partial state of charge) and rapid charge/discharge cycle life is four times that of a conventional lead-acid battery. The ability to deal with PSOC pulse charge/discharge cycles overcomes a major difficulty for application in hybrid electric vehicles.
The technology is scheduled to be commercially available in the automotive market and for motive power applications throughout Japan, Thailand, North America, Mexico and Canada within two years.
The UltraBattery is not yet licensed in Australia for automotive applications. CSIRO is accepting expressions of interest for manufacture and distribution of the technology in this region.
UltraBattery technology also has applications for renewable energy storage from wind and solar. CSIRO is part of a technology start-up—Smart Storage Pty Ltd.—that will develop and commercialize battery-based storage solutions for these energy sources.