A home-grown battery storage technology has secured new funding support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and is set to move into international markets after signing a global manufacturing deal.
ARENA has committed $4.1 million in new recoupable funding for Sydney-based company Ecoult to enhance and fully commercialise its UltraBattery technology, which was originally developed by CSIRO with ARENA’s support.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said providing support for battery storage technologies like the UltraBattery was at the core of ensuring a smooth transition to a renewable energy future.
“ARENA is working hard to accelerate the energy storage revolution as part of its efforts to bring down costs and increase the reliability and security of renewable energy,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“Storage is critical for increasing the reliability of our on-grid and off-grid power systems. It can give customers more control over their energy by storing solar through the day to use during the evening peak.
“This latest funding supports a $10.6 million effort by Ecoult to improve its technology and pursue large-scale commercialisation. It will enhance the battery’s performance and improve its ability to support both grid and offgrid applications.”
In 2013, ARENA provided Ecoult $583,780 for the early development of its technology, including optimising it for off-grid applications. This led to the creation of the small, kilowatt-scale battery storage device known as the ‘UltraFlex’.
“Our support for Ecoult demonstrates how ARENA works across the innovation chain to support research and development and build a vital bridge between commercial adoption and uptake,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“ARENA’s early funding has helped Ecoult progress to the point where it has secured private sector investment and an international manufacturing partnership.
“Ecoult has signed a deal with Exide Industries, India’s largest battery manufacturer, which will see the UltraBattery manufactured and distributed in India and South Asia.
“ARENA’s further $4.1 million support will help Ecoult deliver on both its local and global objectives, which is a major step towards fully commercialising the UltraBattery and securing export dollars for Australian intellectual property.”
“This is just one example of the way ARENA’s work is helping accelerate the shift to renewable energy in Australia and at the same time reaching around the globe,” Mr Frischknecht said.
Ecoult CEO John Wood said ARENA’s new funding would support the expansion of the company’s engineering team in Sydney to improve its technology to help shift dependency on fossil fuel consumption to renewables.
“Over the past 10 years, since our inception at CSIRO, and with the assistance of the critical funding from ARENA, our team has developed energy storage systems to enhance renewable adoption in Australia at the same time contributing to the global evolution in the way people and companies think about application of energy storage alongside renewable energy,” Mr Wood said.
ARENA was established by the Australian Government to make renewable energy technologies more affordable and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia. Through the provision of funding coupled with deep commercial and technical expertise, ARENA provides the support needed to accelerate the development of promising new solutions towards commercialisation.
ARENA invests in renewable energy projects across the innovation chain and is committed to sharing knowledge and lessons learned from its portfolio of projects and information about renewable energy. ARENA always looks for at least matched funding from the projects it supports and to date has committed $1.1 billion in funding to more than 270 projects.
Australian invention poised to revolutionise renewable energy market: Ecoult delivers complete energy storage solutions and modules powered by the breakthrough UltraBattery technology – a hybrid lead-acid energy storage device with both an ultracapacitor and a battery in a common electrolyte. Invented by CSIRO in 2007 and today manufactured in the US by East Penn Manufacturing, UltraBattery opens up a new dimension in lead-acid technology—enabling new applications and possibilities.
Ecoult’s storage solutions manage intermittencies, smooth power and shift energy in a safe, reliable and environmentally sound way – the energy storage of choice for grid ancillary services, wind and solar farms, remote microgrids, dual purpose and diesel microgrid efficiency applications. Ecoult is a subsidiary of U.S.-based battery manufacturer East Penn Manufacturing, Inc.