Date: Apr 04, 2019

A South Australian company has unveiled the world’s first operational thermal energy device (TED). The TED creators report the battery can store renewable energy, has higher storage capacity than traditional batteries, and is completely recyclable.

The thermal battery has similar functionality to lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries; it can take any form of electrical input and create alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC).

Unlike existing batteries, it can charge and discharge at the same time, according to Serge Bondarenko, chief executive officer from CCT Energy Storage. And rather than storing an electrical charge, it converts the electrical input to heat.

“It’s a device that takes any form of electrical input on the front end and converts that to thermal energy,” he explains. “We use silicon as our phase-change material, melt it and store the heat from that.”

The thermal battery’s storage capability is 12 times greater than lead-acid batteries and has five to six times the capacity of lithium-ion. “So the storage capacity is significantly higher than what we see now with traditional battery storage devices in the market,” says Bondarenko.

Acknowledging that all technologies have their challenges, Bondarenko still believes they have a competitive advantage. Their thermal battery is considerably cheaper than lead-acid and lithium-ion.

He estimates the battery’s life will be at least 20 years – which they have yet to test. Importantly, Bondarenko explains, the silicon phase-change material doesn’t derate so it could last even longer.

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