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Ecoult awarded largest battery-based renewable energy storage project in Australia; 1.6 MWh UltraBattery system

Australia-based Ecoult has been awarded a Hydro Tasmania contract to supply the largest battery-based renewable energy storage system in Australia for the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP). Formed in 2007 by the CSIRO Australia to commercialize the UltraBattery (earlier post), Ecoult was acquired by the US-based East Penn Manufacturing Company Inc. in 2010.

The 3 MW / 1.6 MWh UltraBattery storage system will complement other elements of Hydro Tasmania’s KIREIP, the aim of which is to reduce significantly King Island’s reliance on diesel fuel to supply the island’s energy needs. The storage system will have the capacity to power the entire island for up to 45 minutes.

UltraBattery concept. Click to enlarge.

The UltraBattery combines the advantages of advanced lead-acid battery technology with the advantages of an asymmetric capacitor, enabling an optimal balance of an energy-storing lead-acid battery with the quick charge acceptance, power discharge, and longevity of a capacitor. UltraBattery operates very efficiently in continuous Partial State of Charge (PSoC) use without frequent overcharge maintenance cycles.

KIREIP will enable demonstration of a power system that can deliver more than 65% of the island’s annual needs from renewable energy, and do it without any loss of reliability or grid stability and at a price lower than the diesel power alternative. KIREIP will lower CO2 emissions by 95% through the use of sustainable clean energy sources, including bio-diesel.



They used to have vanadium redox flow batteries. The technological progress in this case is underwhelming


I guess that just shows how hard it is to bring new technologies to market. Being an Aussie, I had high hopes for the original redox flow design back in the early 90s as Australia is so bloody hopeless at commercialisation, I really thought that was a goer.

As for this design, it's been around since 2000 when the CSIRO demonstrated it in a Holden Commodore hybrid concept car. Even technologies built on the current market paradigm (lead acid) can fail, as Firefly showed, when you think they would have the advantage.

Australia seems to be producing a few different battery options at the moment, and that competition should be good for getting something strong to market. You have this lead acid/capacitor design, Queensland's Redflow zinc bromine flow battery, and South Australia's ZEN Energy Systems with their Li-ion design and active balancing battery management system.

May the best architecture win, and deliver us affordable micro and macro-grid storage and smoothing systems!

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