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The challenge

Making renewable energy more reliable

One of the major challenges of renewable energy is how to provide electricity when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.

Our response

Advanced storage technologies

At CSIRO, we have been pursuing energy storage, including battery technologies, for more than 20 years. We are conducting significant research to overcome the challenges of intermittency, storage and dispatch of electricity generated from solar and wind energy.

For example, our mechanical, chemical and electrical engineers and numerical modelers are looking at a range of potential solutions in solar thermal technology. Solar thermal uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight to heat oil, molten salts, high-temperature ceramics and chemical reactants. This heat can be used to generate electricity or stored for later use, when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.

Our work in energy storage also includes research into:

  • high-performance batteries
  • supercapacitors
  • fuel cells.

Expertise in battery technologies

Our expertise for modelling, synthesis, fabrication and testing of battery technology includes: fabrication, prototypes, anodes, thin electrolytes, packaging, costing, modular design, knowledge of leading edge battery technology, optimising operating window, energy and power densities.

Distributed energy

Distributed energy, a major research area, involves the local generation of power, heat and cooling using emerging technologies and integrating with selected renewables and traditional generation. We work in collaboration and showcase various distributed energy technologies at our Energy Centre in Newcastle, NSW.

For example, microturbine gas engines roughly the size of a household refrigerator are being demonstrated at the Energy Centre to examine co-generation.

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