Friday, December 23, 2011

Ultrabattery : Hybrid Lead Acid Battery And Supercapacitors Transform 150 Year Old Technology

CSIRO's UltraBattery invention is a hybrid energy storage device made up of a supercapacitor integrated with a lead–acid battery cell.   The goal of the research is to develop an efficient, low emission power source for hybrid electric vehicles that could also provide a solution to the intermittency of electricity production from renewables

The UltraBattery is a remarkable CSIRO invention that has turned the conventional battery – a 150 year-old energy-storage system – into a dynamic technology that will open pathways to low emission transport and renewable energy storage.

Ms Rosalie Louey prepares key capacitor electrodes for the UltraBattery. 
Ms Rosalie Louey sits at a laboratory desk wearing her safety goggles and lab coat and uses a variety of instruments to prepare components for the UltraBattery.
Credit: CSIRO

This innovative advancement on conventional battery design delivers low cost, long life, high performance power.

Powering low emission transport

Integrating a conventional car engine with a battery powered electric motor (hybrid electric vehicles) achieves the dual environmental benefit of reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption from transport.

The UltraBattery has been comprehensively tested both in Australia and internationally and has been proven to offer a number of advantages over the existing nickel-metal hydride batteries used in HEVs:
approximately 70 per cent less expensive comparable performance in terms of fuel consumption
comparable performance in terms of fuel consumption, carbon-dioxide emissions and cycle life
faster charge and discharge rates.

CSIRO is conducting further research to improve UltraBattery technology, making it lighter, more efficient and capable of setting new performance standards for HEVs.

Solutions for renewable energy storage

Energy derived from renewable sources offers the potential for a low emission, sustainable future.

UltraBattery technology could overcome the issue of intermittent power generation associated with wind and solar, which remains a fundamental road block for the widespread uptake of renewable energy resources such as these.

The UltraBattery can be integrated into wind power systems to smooth intermittency and potentially 'time-shift' energy production to better match demand.

Field tests for the wind energy storage application are being conducted at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

A similar application is expected to be developed for solar energy production.

UltraBattery commercialization

In 2007 CSIRO signed an UltraBattery commercialisation and distribution agreement with Japan's Furukawa Battery Company and United States manufacturer, East Penn.

The exclusive sub-license agreement will see the UltraBattery distributed by East Penn to the automotive and motive power sector throughout North America, Mexico and Canada while Furukawa Battery Company will release the technology in Japan and Thailand.

Contacts and sources:
Dr Lan Trieu Lam
Research Team Leader
Energy Storage Theme

Read the UltraBattery FAQs.

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