Ecoult battery system trialled for grid support role in Ireland

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Australian-based battery storage technology developer Ecoult is taking its product to Europe for the first time, following its selection to be used in a trial to provide back-up services for electricity grid.

The Sydney-based company, a spin off from the CSIRO, says one of its Ultra-Battery energy storage products is to be installed in Dublin in a smart grid testbed to integrate fast-response storage with the electricity grid.

ecoult grid

The program is being run by German  renewable systems and power converter manufacturer Freqcon for its Tallaght Smart Grid Testbed, which is being used by the operated by  Irish Micro Electricity Generation Association to test new battery storage technologies.

The trial is designed to show how a combination of energy storage and smart power electronics can minimize electricity distribution issues and grid instability in a micro grid.

The system being used is a single UltraMax which is about 70kWh nominal capacity at the 10-hour rate. The UltraMax is 2.5 times larger than its little brother, the UltraFlex.

The UltraBattery system, combined with the Freqcon power converters, will demonstrate that energy storage can provide “synthetic inertia”, and Ecoult expects it to show it can compete with and outperform existing fossil fuel balancing resources – mostly coal fired generation.

Freqcon CEO Norbert Hennchen said the market for grid-tied energy storage systems is growing, including for fast frequency response. “Ecoult`s hybrid lead-acid UltraBattery is a very promising technology in this space, and we are excited to partner with Ecoult and deploy the first unit in Europe,” he said.

The UltraBattery system is a hybrid lead-acid system suitable for fast-cycling, high-rate, partial state of charge functions. Although invented in Australia, it is now manufactured in the US by Ecoult’s parent company East Penn Manufacturing.

Ecoult CEO John Wood said the Ultrabattery contains both battery chemistry and ultracapacitor technology built into each cell. This means it has Athe safety, sustainability and dependability of lead-acid, but can outperform other battery chemistries in similar applications.

Ecoult says it will connect to both the main grid (irish distribution grid) and support the ability to island and act as a microgrid for local loads in the smart grid.

“Since the technology is built on a proven and safe lead-acid platform, UltraBattery cells are recyclable and we’re delighted that Freqcon has chosen to partner with our technology and storage system,” Wood said.  

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  • Peter Grant

    Demands for inertia/balancing is much like the characteristics required for a car starter battery – short bursts of high drain (or charge). This is a wonderful example of the diversity of technology available for the various challenges of a high variable supply based energy system (Ireland being the current global laboratory for high wind penetration).

    Here are mature technologies being applied that will further prove the lie of the ‘base load’ myth. Great to see an Australian company contributing to this innovative application, wish there was more of it in OZ.