A few years ago, fluctuations and complex storage solutions were the main factors hampering solar growth. Today, the sector is poised to leverage technologies to make a decisive leap. With a sustainable future around the corner, it will be innovative battery storage that will drive solar PV to become more powerful and efficient than ever before. But what are the latest developments in PV and energy storage, and which innovations are poised to transform the industry?
Australia’s only lithium mine outside of Western Australia, Core Lithium’s Finniss Lithium Project, has produced “battery grade” lithium hydroxide, according to the company, with Core hoping the development will place it at the “forefront” of lithium production for the global renewable energy and EV markets.
When it comes to alternative battery structures, designs that use high-density lithium metal instead of traditional graphite materials as electrodes are considered very promising, but there are a number of technical obstacles. A team at MIT has reportedly developed a new electrolyte solution that could solve one of the key problems hindering the development of the technology, paving the way for the future of batteries for electric vehicles and mobile devices.
Academics reviewed the historic price development of lithium-ion batteries and found the accepted model does not accurately reflect the full cost decline and technological improvement which has taken place. With more data points to compare, the team found batteries had improved even more than previously assumed.
Battery storage manufacturer RedEarth has partnered with a major Australian housing developer to offer new-home buyers solar and solar/battery systems tailored to their needs from the get go – and with the opportunity to sell excess energy at optimized prices where the grid needs it most.
Russian nuclear energy giant Rosatom has acquired a 49% stake in Enertech International, a South Korean lithium-ion battery specialist, and has announced plans to build a gigafactory at an unspecified location in Russia. The start of production is scheduled for 2025.
Scientists in the UK developed a model to explain one of the challenges to harnessing an oxygen-redox reaction in certain cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries. Based on their improved understanding of the reaction, they suggest several possible routes for further research to avoid the unwanted reactions and develop reversible, high energy density cathode materials.
A handful of companies are challenging Chinese control of a core material in lithium-ion battery production, before the electrification of transport truly kicks off the global battery boom. International Graphite, a Perth-based startup at the forefront of this effort.
Italian start-up Italvolt wants to build a €4 billion EV battery manufacturing facility in Italy. The site for the project is currently being identified, and the factory’s initial capacity should reach 45 GWh.
Scientists in Sweden developed a new aerogel process to manufacture silicon anodes for lithium-ion batteries, promising to offer batteries with greatly increased capacity compared to those on sale today. By growing nanometer-sized particles of silicon onto graphite, the group was able to demonstrate a device that overcomes many of the challenges common to silicon as anode material. While there are still challenges in terms of stability and capacity retention, the approach could ultimately yield low-cost, large-scale production processes.
sonnen has launched an industry-wide manufacturer initiative to push the use of cobalt-free lithium ion batteries for home storage systems to increase awareness for more sustainable materials and longer-lasting batteries. To start with, sonnen will be introducing a trust mark, which will make it clear to customers and installers that its batteries are cobalt-free.
Once the poster child for fossil fuels, gas and oil, Australia’s energy supply is on the precipice of a renewable revolution. Over two million, or one in five, of Australian households now have rooftop solar, according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.