Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian innovation in battery storage for solar and wind power

Energy firm claims battery storage breakthrough SMH, October 10, 2012 – Peter Hannam
Carbon economy editor A South Australian energy firm is claiming an international breakthrough in battery technology that will help generators of solar and wind power store their energy more cheaply.
ZEN Energy Systems today unveiled a computer-controlled storage system – with one model about the size of a bar fridge – which almost doubles the effectiveness of batteries.
“This technology is a game changer for the renewable energy industry and has the potential to change the way individuals and communities use electricity in the future,” ZEN’s chief executive officer, Richard Turner, said.
Mr Turner said as many as 10 Australian utilities are interested in trialling the system and the company has already begun shipping large-scale container-sized units to US clients……..
In Victoria, off-peak prices are about 8 cents a kilowatt versus 45
cents for peak times. The real savings, though, may come if power
suppliers and users avoid excessive investment in new poles, wires and
other equipment.
“The country is forecast to spend about $100 billion over the next ten
years on infrastructure on what is an ageing and quite decrepit grid
with an ever-increasing requirement for peak energy,” Mr Turner said
on the sidelines of the All-Energy conference in Melbourne.
“A significant amount of those problems can be fixed through shifting
the peak time load away from peak by simply storing energy when the
grid’s demand is low and using it when it’s in high demand.”……
Price halved
Innovators have previously focused on trying to build a better
battery, a strategy that has required significant capital investment
and typically locked them into pursuing one line of battery chemistry.
“We’re not a battery company but virtually a software company that
developed the best way of managing batteries,” Mr Turner said, adding
that ZEN uses a so-called active balancing battery management system
for its lithium ion batteries.
“It’s really dropped the price of energy storage in half.”
ZEN plans to use Adelaide as its base for advanced manufacturing
processes, sourcing sub-assembly work abroad.
ZEN’s operations to date have mostly been as an integrator and
installer of solar power units in Australia.
The battery storage system has been co-developed with a US-based
sister firm, Greensmith Energy Management Systems. ZEN is 70 per cent
owned by Mr Turner.
The company plans to launch its Freedom Powerbank product range
tomorrow, with SA premier Jay Weatherill and manufacturing minister
Tom Koutsantonis in attendance.
The company will also target regional communities living off the main
power grid as potential customers, with many remote sites now solely
reliant upon diesel generation for electricity.
Paired with a back-up diesel engine, the storage system would help
reduce dependence on diesel power.
“A micro-grid system incorporating solar energy and storage could
allow these communities to reduce diesel costs by up to 94 per cent
and produce 75 per cent less CO2 emissions,” he said.

October 11, 2012 - Posted by | efficiency, South Australia

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