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Australian Energy Storage Trial To Test “Real World” Performance Of Batteries

Originally published on RenewEconomy.
By Sophie Vorrath

An ARENA-backed energy storage trial will test the performance of a range of major battery brands and technologies in varying “real world” conditions, in an effort to inform investors ahead of the expected energy storage boom.

The trial, to be conducted by IT Power, will test six major lithium-ion battery brands – including, potentially, Tesla’s new Powerwall product – alongside an ‘advanced’ lead-acid battery and a conventional lead-acid battery.

A major objective of the testing – which has been backed by a $450,000 ARENA Emerging Renewables Program grant – is to measure the batteries’ decrease in storage capacity over time and their compatibility with a range of renewable generation technologies.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said there was little information about how well lithium-ion batteries could work in Australia with its hot environment and high uptake of rooftop solar.

“For a large project they would go to tender… they are going to find the best solution at the best price for their application, but that’s not going to be quite so easy for an individual homeowner,” he said.

“So part of the outcome we hope to achieve from this is provide information for the general public as to what sort of solutions will work best for them.”

According to IT Power, several battery types have already been shortlisted on the basis that they are both commercially available and cover a spectrum of prices and battery chemistry variants within the lithium-ion family.

The tests will be conducted at the Canberra Institute of Technology over three years, and will chart the performances of the batteries in hot daytime and cool overnight temperatures similar to what they would experience in real-world conditions.

Each battery will be cycled (charged and discharged) several times per day, albeit within the manufacturers specifications, in order to produce informative test results within three years.

IT Power’s Oliver Woldring told RenewEconomy that his team was in talks with Tesla, the latter having expressed interest in the battery trial.

The company was also due to meet with ACT environment minister, Simon Corbell, on Friday, to discuss the possibility that the research could be incorporated into Canberra’s recently announced “Next Generation Solar Infrastructure” program.

The company says it has also been contacted by a couple of firms interested in partnering with them on the project.

ITP says a preliminary set of results (raw data) and detailed analysis will be publish every six months, describing the technical performance and cost-effectiveness of each battery type/brand.

It says the next step for the company will be to build on this start by adding more batteries.

Reprinted with permission.

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