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Lithium-ion battery experiment could revolutionise energy use

Alternative energy storage solutions probed 171 6011963 0 14103047 300

Alternative means of energy storage are always on the agenda for Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and the body's latest experiment has the potential to revolutionise electricity usage across the nation.

The Canberra-based trial will determine whether lithium-ion batteries can be deployed to improve electricity grids, as well as improve the use of renewable energy.

IT Power has been tasked with carrying out the trial, which has received $450,000 of funding from ARENA. It will be responsible for analysing how well six different battery brands perform, before comparing them to other lead-acid battery technologies.

CEO of ARENA Ivor Frischknecht said: "Lithium-ion batteries are increasingly used in electric vehicles and consumer electronics, giving them great potential for future cost reductions compared to other storage technologies."

"ITP is building a test facility at the Canberra Institute of Technology to put each battery through its paces with repeated charge and discharge cycles simulating real-world applications and Australian environmental conditions."

Tests will be performed in a controlled environment, before the results are used to gain a better understanding of storage technologies. Analysts will determine whether this technology is capable of competing with lead-acid batteries in terms of both reliability and cost.

Once the results have been compiled, they will be shared with a wide range of stakeholders. These include investors, power companies and researchers, all of whom will be able to use the information to better inform their future experiments.

This follows ARENA's announcement that it would be funding several storage projects in order to make renewable energy more affordable across the nation. It also anticipates that through greater research, more renewables will be able to form part of Australia's wider electricity network.

Energy storage would give network operators the chance to store electricity during peak times, allowing high demand to be met at key times of day and potentially bringing down electricity prices

Posted by Jeremy Elliott