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Australian Government backs off-grid energy storage

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Ecoult, an energy storage company, has been awarded funding from the Australian government to develop small to mid-sized storage for homes and businesses using its Deka UltraBattery.

The scheme aims to develop a battery storage system prototype for three types of energy applications - off-grid power for remote areas; distributed grid connected storage to support fluctuations in power from renewable power sources; and hybrid generation.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) grant will enable Ecoult to roll out this pilot scheme for effective integration of renewable energy into the Australian grid.

John Wood, CEO of Ecoult said: “We are now in the process of extending our products and solutions from MW-scale to commercial and residential applications. Our objective is to reduce the cost of energy storage and boost the competitiveness of small-scale renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar panels.” 

Ecoult has completed extensive testing over the last three years for the use of the UltraBattery in the field. Wood said of these tests, “the results and the throughput achieved have confirmed the outstanding performance of Deka Ultrabattery in either variability management (smoothing) and in deficit charge regimes such as those typically encountered in distributed solar applications.”

Testing conducted by Sandia National Laboratories in the US showed the UltraBattery retained consistent capacity leading to better performance, and for much longer, in deficit charge operations, than the VRLAs often used in distributed energy storage applications. 

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), who originally invented the UltraBattery, and East Penn Manufacturing are collaborative partners in the project.