More and more people are recognising that one of the major
issues with energy storage batteries are the dangers with fires and explosions
particularly associated with thermal runaway (self-sustaining fires). This has
become particularly relevant as people are considering installing the many
lithium ion battery technologies in their houses or businesses and are becoming
aware of the possibility of the dangers associated with this.
Standards Australia has been working on new installation
standards “AS-NZ 5139_2019” which will try and address this issue but there is
still a lot of discussion around whether the new installation restrictions are
too strict or are really looking at individual battery characteristics
correctly and fairly.
International Standard “UL9540A” has been developed to independently examine Fire Risk with Battery Cells and Evaluate Thermal Runaway Fire Propagation in Battery Energy Storage Systems.
Battery storage systems being installed in Australia look set to confirm earlier predictions that battery installations will treble in 2017.
New data from the SunWiz 2017 Mid-Year Battery Report shows more than 7000 battery installations took place across Australia in the first six month of 2017. By contrast there were 6500 installations recorded for all of 2016. Current projections say Australia is headed for a total of more than 20,000 energy storage battery installations by the end of 2017. Continue reading “Battery storage uptake by households surges as grid costs soar”→
One of the biggest problems with the efforts to use renewable energy to produce large amounts of the energy consumed on a daily basis has been its inability to reliably supply power at the times it is most needed. This can and will be addressed with the installation of battery systems that allow households, businesses and energy network providers to store renewable energy for use at night or in peak periods.
Solar panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity during the day with maximum generation being between the hours of 11 to 3pm. Unfortunately, for most people unless you are home during the day 80% of this power gets fed back into the grid for very little return. Likewise, although energy generation through wind is now very efficient and cost effective the times when wind produces energy can be intermittent.
For many businesses it is important to look at using battery storage to reduce peak demand charges. Often, even one large energy spike can greatly increase total energy bills with this drawdown increasing the energy charge for all power usage. If the peak demand needed can be reduced then the overall electricity charges can be reduced.
Peak demand usually occurs when several high energy using pieces of machinery come into use at the same time, particularly if this machinery has large initial starting energy draws.
Peak demand is usually calculated based on the highest 15 minute average usage over a given month, even if it only occurs once a month (some energy retailers actually use the maximum usage over a yearly period, again even if this maximum only occurs once a year). These demand charges are also often charged on a tiered scale with higher charges the higher the peak is.
A recent Essential Research Australian poll found that almost two out of three people agree that more renewable energy is the solution to future energy needs, and a similar amount approve of Labor’s 50 per cent renewable energy target. In other significant findings 71 per cent think the Federal Government is not doing enough to ensure affordable, reliable and clean energy for households and businesses and 45 per cent blame blackouts on failures of the energy market during extreme weather.
Climate change: 60% (up 6% since December) agree that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity and 25% (down 2%) believe that we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate. By age groups, those aged under 35 split 70%/15% and those aged 55+ split 47%/40%. People with higher education were more likely to think climate change is happening and is caused by human activity – those with university degrees split 72%/19%. Continue reading “Voters say yes to renewables says Essential Research Australian poll”→
South Australia approves 150 MW concentrated solar thermal plant
Although , using molten salt, this is a different technological process to our SoNick, sodium nickel chloride batteries but adds credence to the benefits of using molten salt as a storage medium for batteries. Unlike the lithium batteries that are so popular at the moment molten salt batteries are non-toxic, cannot catch fire and go into thermal runaway and are recyclable at end of life with current processes not hopefully at some time in the future.
South Australia has made a commitment to concentrated solar thermal, the towering clean energy storage solution seen by many as a serious contender for utility-scale moderator as intermittent sources of energy replace coal and gas generation.
When it comes to green energy, the intermittent nature of renewable sources like wind, solar, and tidal power presents a difficult problem for the electrical grid management. Peak energy production often doesn’t correlate well with peak energy demand, necessitating a means of storing excess energy when consumption is low. As renewable energy sources become more prevalent, and the need to curb fossil fuel emissions continues to increase, finding a new grid energy storage solution has never been more important. It is the final piece of technology required to bring about wide scale adoption of renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines.
What is a Molten Salt Battery?
Molten salt batteries, especially liquid metal batteries, are increasingly gaining interest from the energy community as a grid energy storage solution for renewable energy sources. Combining high energy and power densities, long life times, and low cost materials, they have the potential to meet the unique demands of grid scale energy storage. A molten salt battery is a class of battery that uses a molten salts electrolyte. The components of molten salt batteries are solid at room temperature, allowing them to be stored inactive for long periods time. During activation, the cathode, anode and electrolyte layers separate due to their relative densities and immiscibility. The molten salt layer in the middle serves as an electrolyte with a high ionic conductivity, and is the medium through which the ionic species travel as the battery charges and discharges.
Energy storage batteries come in a variety of different sizes and weights and each have different characteristics. Here is a comparison of some different battery technologies currently available in Australia with an indication of the amount of power that can be drawn down.
You can see from this image that size is not necessarily a good indication of the power that is available to be used from a battery. Some batteries have much better energy density than others.
Another thing to consider is how much power you can actually draw from the battery at any point in time. Our SoNick battery can draw 150 amps for 4 hours continuously but some other batteries are very limited in the amount of power that can be used, maybe only with enough to boil a kettle and little more. Continue reading “Battery Drawdown Capabilities”→
Until recently lead acid batteries have been the major player in the energy storage industry, particularly for off grid installations but they have serious limitations in terms of requiring customer maintenance and of course they are made from toxic materials.
Recently, Tesla’s lithium ion batteries have received a lot of attention due to their advertised low price and excellent marketing, however the lithium ion batteries are now receiving attention due to their fire risk on the release of embodied energy. Lithium ion batteries have a smaller operating range than most other batteries and won’t operate efficiently above 35 – 40°C. Also, lithium is a toxic material and is in limited supply and at this stage can’t be recycled effectively.
There are some new technologies coming onto the market, such as Redflow’s zinc bromide, Aquion’s sodium ion salt water batteries, improved lead acid and many variations of lithium battery. These each have advantages and disadvantages, both in terms of performance and size. Depth of Discharge (DOD)