Altech Batteries, a Western Australian battery technology company, has incorporated “game-changing” sodium chloride technology into its new 1 MWh GridPack. It estimates the new systems will be up to 40% cheaper to produce than the dominant lithium-ion alternatives.
Perth-based Altech Batteries has announced the design of a new 1 MWh GridPack non-lithium battery energy storage system. It developed it for the renewable energy and grid storage markets as part of its joint venture in cooperation with Germany’s Fraunhofer IKTS.
The “plug-and-play” GridPack is launched just six months after the parties signed a joint venture agreement to commercialize Fraunhofer’s Cerenergy sodium alumina solid-state battery technology, which is based on sodium ions commonly found in table salt and avoids rare uses. and precious metals such as lithium, cobalt, graphite and copper. Altech Batteries said the technology eliminates exposure to critical metal price spikes and supply chain concerns. Fraunhofer has estimated that production costs for Cerenergy batteries should be about 40% cheaper than lithium-ion batteries, which currently dominate the global energy storage market.
The joint venture commercializes sodium chloride battery technology and plans to build a 100 MWh production plant on Altech’s property in Germany. The plant is expected to manufacture 10,000 individual 10 kWh Cerenergy battery modules annually to provide grid storage solutions to the market.
While the development of the production facility continues, the companies have now started the design of the 1.0 MWh GridPack. Each GridPack, which must be placed in standard shipping containers, contains 20 individual 60 kWh batteries connected to a power management system. Each unit is rated at 600 V (DC) and 100 amp hours and can be arranged in series to achieve the several thousand kW power required for grid operation.
Altech said the GridPacks are modular and stackable, which reduces their footprint, and have a “plug-and-play” feature that makes them easy to install at remote sites. The company said it has no moving parts, such as cooling fans, and the batteries can operate in any climate without thermal management — a key advantage of sodium-aluminum solid-state batteries over lithium-ion batteries.
With an estimated lifetime of more than 15 years and unlimited cycling, Altech said it is confident the technology will become the “first choice” for companies looking for a reliable and long-lasting energy storage solution.
“These 1 MWh GridPacks offer significant benefits to the rapidly growing renewable energy and grid storage sectors,” the company said. “They are an excellent way to stabilize the grid by providing a backup power source during times of high demand or when renewable energy sources are not producing their capacity. They are also a cost-effective solution for renewable energy storage and distribution for a variety of applications, including grid-level storage, microgrids and electric vehicle charging.