South Australia has recently put the world’s biggest lithium battery into operation – but perhaps it should’ve waited. A local startup says it’s built the world’s first working thermal battery, a device with a lifetime of at least 20 years that can store six times more energy than lithium-ion batteries per volume, for 60-80 percent of the price.
Climate Change Technologies, also known as CCT Energy Storage, has launched its TED (Thermal Energy Device) with a set of remarkable claims. TED is a modular energy storage unit that accepts any kind of electricity – solar, wind, fossil fuel-generated or straight off the grid – and uses it to heat up and melt silicon in a heavily insulated chamber. Whenever that energy is required, it’s pulled out with a heat engine. A standard TED box holds 1.2 megawatt-hours of energy, with all input and output electronics on board, and fits easily into a 20-ft (6-m) container.
Here are some of CCT’s banner claims about the TED: For a given size volume, it can store more than 12 times more energy than a lead-acid battery, and several times more than lithium-ion solutions. Installations can scale from 5-kilowatt applications out to a virtually unlimited size. Hundreds of megawatts of instantly accessible, easily controllable power should be no problem – all you need to do is add more units, plug-and-play style. In the case of an outage, each TED device can remain active for about 48 hours.
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