Local hybrid battery technology being trialled off-grid

Image: Ecoult

An innovation developed at the CSIRO and combining supercapacitor and lead battery technology is being trialled in off-grid conditions.

The ABC reports that the UltraBattery technology is being tested in off-grid and dual purpose scenarios, where it is being used to smooth out the highs and lows of renewable energy production.

It is being commercialised by Ecoult in a system it calls UltraFlex. Traditional batteries, said Ecoult CEO John Wood, could not sustain a partial charge, though a supercapacitor overcame this.

“When we’re doing things like integrating renewables into the grid or setting up micro-grids, what we’re actually doing is cycling the battery so it’s never quite full, never quite empty,” Wood told the ABC.

“That’s a partial state of charge. Continually charging and discharging the battery to take energy and moving it in time for use when its needed.

The primary inventor of UltraBattery was the CSIRO’s Dr Lan Lam. It is being commercialised by a Sydney-based company, Ecoult, which was acquired by the USA’s East Penn Manufacturing Company in 2010.

Further adding to the international nature of the commercialisation, the Australian battery system was built by Japan’s Furukawa Battery Company and tested in the UK by Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium.