A new use for the UltraBattery

I told you about the UltraBattery in January…it combines a supercapacitor and a lead acid battery in one unit – making it very quick to provide and absorb charge during acceleration and braking while costing much less than nickel metal hydride or lithium-ion batteries. While field tests are underway to prove the reliability of the UltraBattery in hybrids, CSIRO, the creator of the battery, is joining forces with Cleantech Ventures to use the UltraBattery Smart Storage unit to store wind power and smooth out variability in output from wind turbines.

CSIRO’s Dr. Lan Lam Trieu, the UltraBattery’s inventor, says that it can produce about 50 percent more power than a conventional lead acid battery and can last up to four times longer. It also costs about the same as a regular lead-acid battery – again, much cheaper than a nickel metal hydrid or lithium-ion battery.

The Director of CSIRO’s Wind Energy Research Unit, Dr. Peter Coppin, says that their battery can be used in conjunction with weather forecasts to balance out the output of both wind and solar power plants.

“If a forecast indicates that the wind will drop tomorrow, you can compensate by lining up additional power from elsewhere in the grid. The next step after that is storage. The Smart Storage solution can smooth variability over short-time scales,  half hourly intervals, for example, which are important for supplying the grid.  Instead of a situation where you have 100 per cent power when storms go through, then back to zero, you can buffer against short-interval variability.”

The vehicle version of the Ultrabattery is close to finishing its field tests in the UK, where a pack of 12 UltraBatteries are powering a Honda Insight hybrid over a total of 90,000 miles. So far, there has been no drop off in performance of the batteries.

You can read the full story at Sciencealert.com

ultrabattery hybrid csiro
The UltraBattery (inset) may not only power hybrid electric cars– such as the red Honda shown here, driven for more than 145 000 km in a UK trial – but also smooth out short-term variations in wind energy. Source: Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium

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