Storing renewable energy
Apparently, a company in Australia has designed the first operational thermal energy device also known as TED. According to the designers of this system, this is resulting in a battery which is able to store renewable energy. The storage capacity is significantly higher than those of traditional batteries and furthermore, the new technology is completely recyclable. They have also revealed that the new thermal battery is functioning very similarly to lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries. This allows these batteries to handle just about any electrical input and that input can be converted to direct current or alternating current. Traditional batteries have many limitations but the new batteries are able to charge and discharge simultaneously. Thermal batteries will not only store an electrical charge it will convert the electrical input to heat. It makes use of technology that is able to take any electrical energy and then proceed to convert that input to thermal energy. The technology makes use of silica as the phase-change material. This is melted and then the released heat is stored.
Substantially better than existing batteries
The newly designed thermal battery’s storage capability is 12 times better than that of lead-acid batteries. It is also better than lithium-ion batteries because it is able to store six times more energy than lithium-ion batteries. This is a substantial improvement on currently available technologies. Even when one takes into consideration that thermal batteries have some challenges to conquer there can be no doubt that the new technology has a significant advantage over other technologies. Furthermore, the thermal battery is a whole lot cheaper than currently available technologies. Thermal batteries can be expected to last as much as 20 years although more research will have to be done to justify that estimate. It is however known that the silicon phase-change material does not deteriorate and this is why the 20-year estimate can be considered to be conservative. When the Thermal battery reaches the end of its lifecycle it is entirely possible to recycle that battery without doing any harm at all to the environment. Although it cannot be denied that all energy storage devices have limitations and merits, it can nevertheless be stated with confidence that thermal batteries have higher storage capacity and also a longer life than comparable lithium-ion batteries. One of the most abundant renewable energy sources is solar energy. Any surplus power can now be stored as thermal energy and such energy will be available when it is needed.
A very exciting new technology
Thermal batteries are an amazing new discovery which is providing an alternative option for the storage of renewable energy. The original idea behind TED revealed itself to a couple of engineers and scientists in 2011. That company is now in partnership with researchers at the University of South Australia. Efforts are underway to reduce the melting point of the silicon substrate. Improvements can result in a lower overall cost of manufacturing. The interaction between the University and the company is providing fresh insights for all people involved. The time has now come for field testing of the prototype. This is a completely scalable technology and it provides the potential for energy storage on a very large scale. There are already many existing technologies which can be safely replaced with TED technologies. Certain agreements have already been reached with companies that are involved in Australia’s telecommunications industry. It is estimated that the new battery will become operational within a month for two.
International interest groups
They are already partnerships with companies in Europe. These companies are already involved in clean technology products. Some of the interest is in solar energy which can be stored by making use of the current TED technology. A further benefit of the current TED device is that it requires a very small footprint, unlike other similar technologies. All of the collected energy can be transferred directly to the TED. This result in a practical and cost-effective solution which is beneficial to everyone involved. The designer and developer of TED, CCT Energy Storage has already signed an agreement which is giving MIBA Solutions exclusive manufacturing as well as distributing rights in several European countries. Many companies that are currently relying on diesel generators may soon be able to switch to TED technology. A test is already underway to help an isolated community in northern Australia to become energy independent. Other initiatives in the UK is also under discussion and the technology is certain to find favor with conservationist groups.