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Gridtential and CBI launch project to develop lead batteries for ESS applications

Thu, 03/11/2021 - 12:44 -- Paul Crompton

Bipolar technology firm Gridtential has started a research project to test a 7kWh behind-the-meter energy storage system using high voltage reference lead batteries.

Engineers are developing the ‘plug and play’ solar powered energy storage systems with support from the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI), and testing company Electric Applications Incorporated (EAI). 

The residential-sized research project will use Gridtential’s Silicon Joule technology, which uses silicon wafers in traditional lead batteries to reduce weight and reaches 65-70Wh/kg with a 1,500-3,000 cycle life, and an operating temperature of -35 to 55oC.   

The research collaboration will develop mini-systems using bipolar batteries for testing, with EAI developing an optimised charge scheme to replicate real-life energy storage systems.

John Barton, CEO of Gridtential, said: “Integrated PV-battery backup system is a fantastic application for Silicon Joule technology due to its superior cycle life, low cost, safety, and recyclability; all of which are of utmost importance to residential consumers and small business owners and set this technology apart from other batteries.”

The project is critical for delivering insights to enhance lead battery performance, and builds on CBI’s technical roadmap goals to maximise cycle life and energy throughput— key technical parameters for renewable energy storage. 

Dr. Matt Raiford, technical manager of CBI, said: “This partnership will delve into the performance of bipolar lead battery packs using sizing commonly seen in residential energy storage systems.

“This project will contribute to a new battery technology being available to meet growing demand in the United States and further afield”.

Demand for behind-the-meter (BTM) energy storage is booming, with industry analysts Wood Mackenzie reporting 430MW was installed in the US last year, 2020, reflecting an increase of more than 100% over 2019.

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