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.
With battery storage set to grow in the next few years there are many people that are interested in looking at this technology but there are also a wide variety of reasons that people are doing so.
Up until now most people that have used batteries to store their energy have been those that have been in situations where it was not possible, either for economical or proximity reasons to connect to the electricity grid. However, there are now many more reasons that people are considering battery storage and many more questions people are asking about the batteries they are looking at.
Over the last 5 – 10 years there has been a big push to install rooftop solar panels to capture electricity to use on the building the panels are installed on. This was encouraged by governments as they introduced feed-in tariffs to encourage people to install solar. This was so successful, as the general public took up these offers that governments soon decreased the feed-in tariffs and now they are extremely low or non-existent, depending on your state. Continue reading “Why do people look at battery storage?”→
Energy storage batteries come in a variety of different sizes and weights and each have different characteristics. Here is a comparison of the degradation after 10 years of batteries currently available in Australia with comparisons of size for a similar sized system from other battery technologies.
You can see from this image that different battery technologies have different degrees of degradation over their lifetime. You need to take this into account when deciding the best battery for your needs. If a battery seems cheaper to purchase upfront but has then degraded significantly after a couple of years and may be down to only 50 or 60 % of original capacity after 10 years this will significantly affect how much power you can draw from that battery.
This degradation is also what may make it difficult to add additional batteries to an installation after a few years. In many cases with lead acid and lithium ion batteries you may need to purchase a new system if you want to add extra capacity. Continue reading “Battery degradation”→
There is a lack of knowledge on the variety of energy storage technologies, and thus on how to care for and operate them in a safe manner in the domestic and small commercial scale context.
Although battery storage is a low-risk technology, it is important that systems are installed and maintained by an accredited installer, and that industry best practice is developed. Continue reading “Battery safety”→
Different battery technologies are different weights as well as different sizes. This may be relevant depending on where you want to store your energy storage batteries.
Energy storage batteries come in a variety of different sizes and weights and each have different characteristics. In the above graphic several batteries are a similar weight, however you may need a number of batteries to provide the same output power which could increase the installation size and weight considerably. Continue reading “Battery weights”→
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 and businesses to store renewable energy for use in peak periods. Continue reading “Do your homework before purchasing batteries”→
Excellent video about the life-cycle of E-Waste. The same principle applies to many of the energy storage batteries currently on the market.
We need companies to be accountable for all areas of their products from health effects of people in third world countries producing products, to toxic products in their use, and recyclability of products at end of life .
Different Australian states are taking action in different ways to move to a renewable energy future, despite the lack of action being taken at a Federal level.
In Australia, as in other countries where Federal government’s should be taking action to meet their commitments to the Paris agreement and they are not, local governments and grassroots consumers are leading the way.