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Novel battery types to be tested in WA remote communities

Manufacturing News

Governments and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency are backing trials of two energy-dense battery types not seen on electric vehicles to test the feasibility of battery micro-grids to supply those living in off-grid communities.

With $2.85 million each from ARENA and the Western Australian government, regional energy provider Horizon Power will pilot two battery technologies that are more energy dense than lithium ion batteries, with their chemistries making them suitable for stationery rather than mobile installations.

BASF’s 250 kW sodium sulphur battery in Carnarvon will be the first of its kind in Australia to connect to a regulated network and a DERMS platform, while Australian company Redflow’s 100 kW zinc bromine flow battery (pictured) will be put to the test in summer temperatures well over 40 degrees further north in Nullagine. Both batteries are imported.

The trials will establish new forms of energy storage and could help Horizon Power roll out Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS) across 34 regional areas by the end of the year.

DERMS is a technology system that controls and improves the flow of electricity from energy resources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, a cording to a statement.

It allows grid operators to send out the right amount of power to meet demand and provides real-time data on the status of energy resources, allowing quick responses to changes in conditions.

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said: “The WA battery trials will help ensure reliable, affordable energy in the long term for hundreds of thousands of Australians living off grid”.

“We are committed to investing in technologies like microgrids, to improve reliability and resilience of electricity supply for regional and remote communities – getting renewable energy to people where and when they need it.”

Both battery types are expected to be deployed in early 2025.

Picture: Redflow’s zinc bromine flow battery

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