The UltraBattery has turned the conventional lead-acid battery — a 150 year-old energy-storage system — into a dynamic technology for storing electricity and powering vehicles.
Finding cost effective and efficient ways to store and deliver energy, when it is needed, is the holy grail of energy.
Investing in new battery technologies
As part of a global partnership, the battery system was developed by CSIRO in Australia, built by the Furukawa Battery Company of Japan and tested in the United Kingdom through the American-based Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium.
The unique design combines two everyday energy-storage devices: the lead-acid battery (battery found in cars) and a supercapacitor (device that powers camera flashes). The result is an economical, super fast-charging battery with long-life power.
The UltraBattery can be made using existing manufacturing facilities. With a wealth of applications possible, the UltraBattery is ideally suited for hybrid-electric and conventional vehicles, renewable energy storage, remote area power supply, emergency power backup and forklift trucks.
The UltraBattery can store renewable energy providing reliability, stability and load levelling. It has been commercialised by energy storage solution company ecoult and is being used by Honda in its new Odyssey hybrid model.
In comparison to alternate renewable energy battery options, the UltraBattery is low cost, durable, has faster discharge/charge rates and has a life cycle two to three times longer than a regular lead-acid battery. By using the UltraBattery, intermittent electricity from renewable sources being fed into the grid can be ‘smoothed’, improving power quality and stability and allowing a greater percentage of our energy supply to be generated by a renewable source.
The UltraBattery has been tested both in Australia and internationally and has been proven to offer a number of advantages over the existing nickel-metal hydride batteries, including the fact that it is approximately 70 per cent less expensive with comparable performance in terms of fuel consumption.
Renewable energy storage
Energy from renewable sources such as the sun and wind offers the potential for a low emission, sustainable future. However, electricity from renewable sources is intermittent and variable only producing energy when the sun shines or wind blows. By using the UltraBattery, intermittent electricity from renewable sources being fed into the grid can be ‘smoothed’, improving power quality and stability and allowing a greater percentage of our energy supply to be generated by a renewable source. As well as providing a stable supply, the UltraBattery can store energy for use during peak demand times, thereby assisting the grid to balance supply and demand and avoid local stressed on the grid.
Commercialisation in India
The UltraBattery is being tested in rural India by the Institute of Transformative Technologies and battery manufacturer Exide Industries. It has the potential to improve energy security in the world’s second largest country by population and reduce reliance on diesel generators.
If successful, Australian research and development could play a vital role in providing renewable energy solutions for India.
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