Thermal Battery Holds 1.2 Megawatt-Hours of Energy in a 20-Foot Box
It could prove to be far more efficient than traditional lithium-ion alternatives.
A company called CCT Energy Storage just put Lonsdale, South Australia firmly on the map. In late March, the start-up unveiled the very first high-density thermal battery, which out-performs its lithium-ion and lead-acid counterparts many times over. Called a Thermal Energy Device (TED), the modular unit stores electricity as latent heat, which can be converted back into energy on demand.
A standard TED unit can store 1.2 megawatt-hours of power and has a life expectancy of at least 20 years. “After 3,000 cycles of service on the test bench,” CCT’s CEO Serge Bondarenko says it shows no signs of degradation (compared to a lithium-ion battery, which drops 20 percent of its capacity after about 5,000 cycles). “In fact,” Bondarenko adds, “it appears silicon even gets better at storing heat after each cycle.”
TEDs accept any kind of electricity you throw at them—solar, wind, hydro, fossil-fuel, grid-fed—converting and storing that energy at more than 12 times the density of a lead-acid battery and six times the density of lithium-ion. They can charge and discharge concurrently, saving time and wasted energy. Compact and durable, the devices require very little maintenance and are 100 percent recyclable. And perhaps most surprising, they’re cheap: about three-quarters of the cost of an equivalent lithium-ion setup.
CCT—which stands for Climate Change Technologies—designed the units to be easily scalable and just as appropriate for small 5kW applications as they are for entire remote communities, business districts, telecommunications networks, and transport systems requiring “hundreds of megawatts of instantaneous power.”