Human settlements

Renewable energy

Enabling technologies 07: The zinc bromine battery for renewable energy applications

Renewable Energy Commercialisation in Australia, Australian Greenhouse Office, 2003
NOTE: The status of these projects will have changed since the time of publication, and project contacts may also have changed.

As the zinc bromine battery suffers no loss of performance after repeated cycling, it has great potential for renewable energy applications in remote areas.

With the assistance of a grant of $265,000 under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program, Australian Inland Energy and Water (AIEW) and ZBB Technologies Ltd (ZBBT) will jointly conduct a project to field test the efficiency of a world-first 500kWh zinc bromine demonstration battery.

ZBBT is involved with the development of reliable, affordable and transportable energy storage systems and conducts its research, development and commercialisation activities from its laboratories at Perth's Murdoch University in Western Australia.

The 500kWh zinc bromine battery differs from systems that ZBBT currently produces in that it will incorporate new designs for electrolyte storage tanks, revised plumbing systems and new automatically controlled pumps and alternating current brushless motors (subcontract parts). It also has new module control and integration systems, and new battery housing with associated electrolyte and thermal management systems.

A zinc bromine battery module consists of one or more cell stacks, a flow system including electrolyte storage tanks, and a battery control system. Unlike most other batteries, the zinc bromine battery suffers no loss of performance after repeated cycling as it uses electrodes that cannot, and do not, take part in the electrochemical reactions that occur within the cell stacks.

AIEW, which is seeking to use new technology for remote-area power and renewable energy applications is anticipating that this project will eventually eliminate the need for grid or diesel generator power backup for renewable energy applications and as such, it has great potential for remote areas.

The field-testing will take place at a remote solar photovoltaic site and will be conducted over a 12-month period to account for all climatic variations. It is intended to recharge the battery using both solar power and grid-connected power in off-peak times during the day and then to fully discharge the battery at night thus fully testing the battery's performance in a typical Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS).

This battery, when combined with renewable energy applications such as solar and wind, will provide a solution not only for customers in remote areas of Australia but also for consumers in other parts of the world. Consumers who currently rely on diesel-fired electricity will benefit greatly from this technology.

Other advantages of the project include load levelling, peak shaving, uninterruptible power supply, voltage support, power quality, deferral of transmission and distribution facilities, and the optimisation of renewable energy systems.

The successful field-testing of this 500kWh demonstration unit will highlight its commercial potential as a renewable energy storage medium.

For more information please contact

Mr Colin Bourne
Australian Inland Energy and Water
160-2 Beryl Street
Broken Hill NSW 2880
Tel (08) 8082 5412
Fax (08) 8082 5333
Email colin.bourne@aienergy.com.au
Internet www.aienergy.com.au/

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