A request for research proposals to support advanced battery technology innovation in energy storage systems has been launched by the world’s only pre-competitive lead battery research consortium.
The Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI), which promotes cutting-edge research and innovation in advanced lead batteries, is seeking research bids focused on facilitating the latest understanding in energy storage applications such as microgrids for renewable energy, load following for electrical grids, and demand response for commercial and industrial applications.
As demand for battery energy storage continues to grow, and the demand for flexible and cleaner sources of energy to supply energy to the grid increases, battery technologies have been recognised as a cornerstone in achieving sustainable decarbonisation and electrification goals. Predictions from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) say 150 GW of storage using batteries is needed by 2030 to achieve renewable energy targets.
Building on the launch of CBI’s technical innovation roadmap last year, which set out the highest research priorities for the next five years into continuing innovation in lead batteries for applications such as the global automotive and motive sectors, this year’s research requests is focusing on identifying new pathways to continue the improvements in lead battery performance for energy storage systems.
Dr Matthew Raiford, manager of CBI’s technical program, said great progress has been made in the last 12 months with their rolling research program so the opportunity is now opened up for universities, companies and other research institutes to submit proposals for a new wave of research projects.
“We know that demand for battery supported energy storage is growing exponentially and innovation in our technology needs to keep pace with this growth.”
CBI’s technical innovation roadmap set out the highest priority research goal of increasing cycle life of lead batteries for energy storage applications by five times to 5,000 by 2022, a key technical parameter for renewable and utility energy applications.
As a newer application for lead batteries, research into field and laboratory tests for energy storage systems is essential to gain deeper insights into understanding total energy throughput and increasing service life and performance.
Whilst demand for clean, reliable, battery energy storage continues to grow, this demand cannot be met by one technology alone. Fundamental research into lead batteries will be vital in exploiting the untapped potential of this technology to deliver on the global transition to a sustainable energy system.
One of the research projects backed by CBI is designed to balance electrical current across banks of advanced lead batteries supporting wind and solar systems.
The 18-month study, by Arizona-based Electric Applications Inc (EAI), will take an in-depth look into how balancing the electrical current across large strings of batteries can improve cycle life, which is the ability of a battery to continue working through numerous cycles when it is not fully charged. Improving cycle life will also help reduce the overall cost of the energy storage system, reducing the need for replacement batteries, a key consideration for utility and renewable energy providers.
Dr Alistair Davidson, Director of CBI, said this kind of research is taking advanced lead battery technology to a new level by marrying intelligent battery management systems with banks of battery storage units.
“Lead batteries are particularly useful in microgrids and in managing peaks and troughs in demand, such as those experienced in renewable energy systems.”
Energy analysts Wood Mackenzie have predicted a thirteenfold increase in grid-scale storage in the next six years. Grid energy storage stores energy in time periods where electricity is abundant and inexpensive or when demand is low. It is then supplied back to the electrical grid when demand is high or electricity prices are higher, allowing a more efficient and economical transfer of energy.
Battery energy storage for this purpose has been vital in the global move to cleaner, renewable sources of energy where the intermittent challenge of solar and wind power generation has been overcome by storing power in batteries during these times.