Battery research promises more reliable renewable energy

Projects announced today will extend Australia's world-leading research position in solar R&D

Projects announced today will extend Australia's world-leading research position in solar R&D

In summary: 
  • UTS researchers will develop a low-cost, high-performance rechargeable battery to store power from renewable energy sources for later use
  • The project has received a $750,000 investment from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency as well as $1.24m industry support

New battery technology promising more efficient and affordable solar and wind energy was announced today as a priority project for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

A UTS team led by Professor Guoxiu Wang has been backed to develop a low-cost, high density renewable energy storage system using lithium-sulphur batteries.

The three-year project has received a $750,000 investment from ARENA, as well as $1.24m industry support from Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute and DLG Energy Pty Ltd.

Professor Wang said lithium-sulphur battery technology is currently the most promising and cost-effective option for large-scale energy storage. "They have high density, long service life and also are safe to operate," he said.

From the left: Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry Bob Baldwin, Professor Guoxiu Wang, General Manager of DLG Energy Australia Yong Yang, David Beins from the UTS Research and Innovation Office and ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht. Photo: supplied From the left: Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry Bob Baldwin, Professor Guoxiu Wang, General Manager of DLG Energy Australia Yong Yang, David Beins from the UTS Research and Innovation Office and ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht. Photo: supplied

"The focus of this project is to find a storage solution.  Solar energy is not continuous; it is only when you have sunshine that you can generate electricity. The same goes for wind and other renewable energy sources. We intend to develop a rechargeable battery that can store these renewable energy sources and make them available for later use."

The UTS Centre for Clean Energy Technology hopes to make a prototype battery product suitable for application in single dwellings, isolated communities, for government and energy industries in Australia and worldwide.

Professor Wang's project was chosen from 110 proposals received from around the country and was one of 12 to be funded.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said of the successful projects, "The research will complement ARENA's existing suite of solar projects, which is already delivering more efficient technologies and helping to reduce costs associated with the deployment of renewable energy in Australia.

"Such projects will extend Australia's world-leading research position in solar R&D and deliver economic benefits by generating Australian-owned IP in potentially game-changing technologies."

The 12 projects were announced by the Hon. Bob Baldwin MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, in Sydney this morning.

A full list of the 12 R&D projects is available online.

ARENA was established by the Australian Government as an independent agency on 1 July 2012 to make renewable energy technologies more affordable and increase the amount of renewable energy used in Australia. ARENA invests in renewable energy projects, supports research and development activities, boosts job creation and industry development, and increases knowledge about renewable energy.