Intelligent Data Centres Issue 42 - Page 22

Jason Koffler , MD and Founder , Critical Power Solutions
equipment connecting the battery to the grid and converting DC into AC . Electrical grid operators are exploring the capacity of battery electric storage systems to help them with deployment and ensure the stability of the grid . Dynamic regulation and dynamic moderation solutions will help to address stability issues throughout the network with the support of battery electric storage .
Hybrid storage solutions
Look for hybrid storage systems in the residential sector that can more effectively combine a photovoltaic roofing structure with the battery and inverter , creating a microgrid at home . These systems will become increasingly more cost-effective to install and operate and will certainly be attractive given the recent incredible rise in traditional energy cost . There will also be more focus on longer-duration storage systems that will help to improve grid utilisation and lower transmission costs while easing peak demand .
Developments in technology
Lithium-ion technology
Of course , Lithium-ion technology has dominated the sector up until this point . Still , there ’ s been increased focus on cathode chemistry in the hunt for better energy density and lower costs . Energy density is particularly important for electric vehicles , as manufacturers seek to manage cost versus performance .
Latest developments show an increase in focus on lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide , or NCA , with better durability , recyclability , power output and charging speed . This technology is likely to dominate electric vehicle battery production in the near term .
The Sodium-ion challenger
Sodium-ion battery systems could soon challenge Lithium-ion . By substituting lithium for sodium , which is far more abundant , other lower-cost materials could be used within the cathode , such as nickel and cobalt . While the technology may not be particularly new , lower prices may now drive the technology forward at an increased rate .
Sodium-ion could more easily find its way into the mainstream as it can use similar processes and technologies to those found within the Lithium-ion industry . Sodium-ion could benefit from existing economies of scale within the supply chain while capitalising on the relatively low cost of sodium as well .
However , engineers will still need to find a solution to the life cycle problem , as a Sodium-ion battery is not expected to last as long as a Lithium-ion alternative . This means it may be some time before Sodium-ion can meet the demands posed by the growing electric vehicle industry . However , Sodium-ion may nevertheless be a viable alternative in other less demanding sectors .
What about flow battery technology ?
Other innovators are moving far away from the concept of Lithium-ion or Sodium-ion . Flow battery technology has been championed by NASA , among others , and would seem to have some promising potential . These batteries can
Compared to a Lithium-ion battery , expect the iron flow battery to last much longer without a charge and to have an extensive life cycle . be used to optimise the amount of energy stored and save money at the same time , due to the rate at which they store and release the energy . In addition , this battery system should be safer , stable and a lot more sustainable .
Redox-flow versus hybrid-flow
Flow batteries feature two different technologies . Redox flow batteries have electro-active materials dissolved in a liquid state electrolyte . Hybrid flow batteries have one active material within the cell , while the other is in the form of a liquid flowing from an external tank into the reaction cell . No flammable or explosive materials are involved and each component within the flow battery is recyclable .
Advantages of iron flow batteries
Compared to a Lithium-ion battery , expect the iron flow battery to last much
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