New Battery Technology

By |2021-11-18T09:11:00+00:00November 18th, 2021|Batteries, Energy, How does it work?, News, Off grid, Renewable Energy, Safety, Savings|0 Comments

New Battery Tech

 

We have gnashed our teeth for quite a long time here in regards to battery storage. We mainly use Gel lead acid batteries called Sungel Ultra from Battery Energy Australia for our off grids. These guys are an Australian battery manufacturer who make one of the best lead acid batteries on the market.

As good and reliable as these batteries are, the actual chemistry of lead acid batteries has its limitations.

 

Lead batteries are big and bulky so they take up a lot of space. They literally weigh an absolute ton or tons if we have enough of them.

 

We also cannot draw them all the way down with severely impacting on their serviceable lifespan. This means to service a 10kWh energy storage required I have to at least use a 20kWh battery.

 

Then we have lithium batteries which we use for on grid hybrid systems from LG and soon SolarEdge. Lithium batteries have proven to be a brilliant traction battery and by that I mean storing energy for electric vehicles and bikes plus all our hand held devices such as mobile phones.

 

Hasn’t proved to be a great stationary battery for homes in some circumstances. They haven’t lasted as well as expected. They were touted as being able to be virtually completely depleted every day or more than one time a day. Whereas I would never want to take a lead acid battery past its 50% states of discharge, lithium’s I could on paper smash 90% out of them whenever I wanted.

 

But time has proven that you cannot and reality hasn’t lived up to the hyperbole.

The lithium chemistries suffer less than lead acid from constant heavy discharging but suffer they still do plus they are an electronic heavy battery product and these electronics have proven to be an Achilles heel as well.

 

It’s almost as though we need some other sort of battery technology to sit between the lead acid and lithium?

 

Well we might have found it. Early days but it does look promising

 

The Gelion Zinc Bromide Battery might be the technology we need for the stationary batteries.

 

Some avid listeners may have heard us mention Zinc Bromide batteries before and you are correct we have recently installed a lot of Redflow Zinc Bromide Flow batteries up at ‘The Vale’ near Sheffield. These though are a flow battery and work with pumps to lay down and extract the zinc out of the zinc bromide solution to charge and discharge the batteries. a very clever battery with various pros and cons but it goes without saying we are a fan of these batteries.

 

But the Gelion Zinc Bromide batteries are another Australian first and there are no moving parts with this battery. It can be completely discharged to empty with zero ill effects (though I have heard this before). It will work fine up to 50 degrees Celsius.

Non toxic so that’s better than Lithium and Lead acid for a start. 98% recyclable which is miles ahead of lithium which is proving to be a headache to dispose of.

 

Cannot catch fire ever which is better than lead acid which can have hydrogen explosions if over charged and lithium which can have thermal runaways which are absolutely frightening events as essentially it can be an inextinguishable fire.

Reported as a very robust technology and abuse tolerant so that is going to put it miles ahead of lead acid and lithium.

 

It’s going to follow the same form factor as lead acid batteries so they’re going to be similar in size to lead acid battery cells but only half the weight.

 

Who is Gelion?

 

Founded in April 2015 by professor Thomas Maschmeyer as a spin out from the University of Sydney Gelion Technologies. These guys are innovators and inventors of cutting edge technology but they’re not manufacturers.

 

This is where it gets a bit exciting. As they are going to follow the same form factor as lead acid batteries and by this I mean they will be in similar cases and using similar negative and positive pole layout so they suit conventional battery products. Gelion to achieve the production requirements for funding and just pure necessity have teamed up with Battery Energy Australia and they are converting one of their production lines over to manufacturing this innovative battery product.

 

What is exciting for us DMS Energy is already partnered with Battery Energy Australia and we will be involved in testing this product’s suitability for Tasmanian conditions. We know it performs well under hot conditions but how will it perform in our cold conditions? Will the cold lower the battery’s capacity? How will it perform under high current draw and high charging rates? How long will the product last?

 

While we have the theoretical answers to these questions what will be the proof in the pudding is real world application and testing. This is where DMS Energy has it over most other renewable energy providers in the state as we have active testing sites across Tasmania where we flog the pants off the gear before we send it to market. This is also the most fun part of our job as when new products arrive it’s like an episode of myth busters in the workshop. We hope to get our hands on the first batteries in the first quarter of 2022.

 

I must say I have high hopes for this product as we need some other battery technology to fill the gap between lead acid and lithium and hopefully the Gelion Zin Bromide battery is it.

 

Lastly, the cost?

 

We do not have any pricing as yet but Gelion have mentioned they do hope to get the cost down to $100 per kWh of storage but this will be for megawatt commercial scaled projects but currently for domestic lithium home storage we are looking at around $1000 per kWh of storage in costs so if the actual figure falls anywhere between $100 and $1000 per kWh its going to be a win win for the end user.

But it makes sense it will be a lower cost. It’s using low cost and readily available raw materials and tried, tested and mature manufacturing techniques to put it all together. So it has to be better priced than lead acid and lithium.

 

So let’s watch this space as we have been led down meandering paths to dead ends with emerging battery technologies before but I will say this one ticks a lot of boxes and is Australian.

 

DMS Energy can be found at 56 Sheffield Rd in Spreyton and if you would like to find out more give us a call on 1300 502 599.