Batteries - a key enabling technology.

Reposit Power builds a virual power station - one house battery at a time

March 06, 2017

Reposit Power is symptomatic of a new wave of entrepreneurs using new technology to supply power to the grid - particularly at peak times. Here are some sections:-


  • The co-founder of energy management group Reposit Power says he is building a virtual power station one battery at a time and "big power" companies take him on at their peril. Dean Spaccavento said Reposit is adding more than a megawatt of battery capacity a month - equivalent to 200 batteries at an average 5KW capacity - to its virtual power station or distributed energy network. He said big power companies could try to compete with Reposit's virtual power station by building a conventional generator at a fixed cost per megawatt hour "but it's competing against ours and it will lose". The energy revolution described by Mr Spaccavento is similar to Uber or Airbnb: It uses - and pays for - assets owned by customers only as they're needed to meet demand spikes and avoid blackouts.

Molten silicon battery technology

February 09, 2017

CSIRO developed molton Silicon battery technology is being commercialised by Adelaide-based company 1414 Degrees. Yet another new battery technology under development. This 10/Feb/2017 AFR article  says the following:

  • Chairman Kevin Moriarty says 1414 Degrees' process can store 500 kilowatt hours of energy in a 70-centimetre cube of molten silicon – about 36 times as much energy as Tesla's 14KWh Powerwall 2 lithium ion home storage battery in about the same space.

  • Put another way, he says the company can build a 10MWh storage device for about $700,000. The 714 Tesla Powerwall 2s that would be needed to store the same amount of energy would cost $7 million before volume discounts.

Graphene supercapacitor battery at Swinburne University

January 29, 2017

5/August/2016 Swinburne University article

19/August/2016 Institue of Engineers article.

A team at Swinburne University has developed a new type of battery: a supercapacitor that charges extremely quickly.

While batteries are ubiquitous in modern society, they also have a number of disadvantages. They take a long time to charge, have a limited life, and due to their materials and construction, can be harmful for the environment if not handled properly during disposal. Additionally, some batteries can explode if they develop defects, or are improperly handled.

In contrast, supercapacitors can be charged in seconds, are reusable millions of times, and are environmentally friendly. They are also safer than ordinary batteries when mistreated, and will not explode under any circumstances.

27/January/2017 AFR article about Han Lin's Graphene supercapacitor

"Graphene comes in nano-layers or flakes of carbon molecules which can be stacked together to make a battery with vast storage, a much longer life than today's batteries and no waste disposal problems.

Cost is one obstacle. Lin and a team of researchers at Swinburne have overcome that and increased the power to weight ratio by using laser printing technology to produce graphene in an interdigital structure, which leaves ions with much less distance to travel to charge and discharge."

"Stacking layers of highly conductive graphene - they are about three-ten billionths of a metre thick - together can overcome the density problem."


Vanadium stealing some of lithium’s limelight?

January 29, 2017

"Lithium may own the market for portable devices, but off-grid storage will require much larger and sturdier systems. Doubling the size of a Li-ion system doubles the price; with a vanadium-redox flow battery, however, you just increase the size of the tank. The result being that the price per kilowatt hour actually decreases with scale. Therefore, as we approach the problem of larger units for homes and industry, bigger becomes better. Given that Largo, wholly owns the highest-grade vanadium deposit in the world, this is indeed exciting times.

Redox flow batteries (RFBs) are just beginning to come to market, but have already caused quite the stir amongst enthusiasts due to their (theoretical) capacity to operate for 5,000 charge cycles or more (In some cases up to 10,000 cycles or more)."

Some useful battery references

January 23, 2017

Telsa's Gigafactory - drive cost down

January 23, 2017

By centralising and integrating the manufacturing process for Lithium batteries, Telsa is making rapid advances in driving battery costs down.

A car battery pocket-sized?

October 18, 2016

Engineers from UK-based start-up energy company UltraCap are in the final stages of developing a lightweight electric vehicle battery.

Redflow's Zinc Bromide battery

January 23, 2017

Redflow is an Australian company that produces zinc bromide flow batteries from home-size up to grid-scale.

A couple of interesting articles:

Nanostructured gel-based batteries

April 13, 2016

Armstrong Energy, a major utility-scale solar energy company based in the UK, will invest $11m into Gelion, a University of Sydney spin-off company, to work on commercially viable, nanostructured, gel-based batteries.

Academics discuss future of batteries, lithium and lithium supplies

November 26, 2015

Prof Ray Wills and Prof Dudley Kingsnorth discuss the future of batteries and where the lithium is going to come from to meet the forecast demand. Presentation materials can be downloaded from

This is an excellent presentation on the future of solar power, batteries etc.

Grid-scale Vanadium Redox batteries

January 23, 2017

The vanadium redox battery (VRB) (or Vanadium flow battery) is a type of rechargeable flow battery that employs vanadium ions in different oxidation states to store chemical potential energy.[3] The vanadium redox battery exploits the ability of vanadium to exist in solution in four different oxidation states, and uses this property to make a battery that has just one electroactive element instead of two.[4] For several reasons, including their relatively bulky size, most vanadium batteries are currently used for grid energy storage, such as being attached to power plants or electrical grids.

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