on May 15th, 2023

EIT attended the recent Smart Energy Conference in Sydney. We look at two energy storage batteries poised to disrupt Australia’s booming storage market.

The Smart Energy Conference that recently occurred in Sydney, Australia, showcased a notable influx of battery companies eager to make their mark in the country’s rapidly growing storage market.

This surge in battery-focused exhibitors surpassed the presence of solar companies by nearly a two-to-one ratio, highlighting a significant industry shift towards energy storage solutions. And the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) was there!

As Australia embraces the potential of storage technologies, it becomes clear that batteries are playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of the energy landscape. In this article, EIT Course Coordinator and Lecturer (Electrical Engineering) Dr. Yuanyuan Fan explains why the event is essential. We also highlight two notable energy storage batteries exhibited at the conference.

Why The Event Is Essential

After attending the 2-day conference, EIT’s Dr. Yuanyuan Fan noted that the Smart Energy Council (the independent body for the Australian smart energy industry that runs the conference) is one of the most reputable organizations in Australia that focuses on the application and innovation of smart energy.

“This year’s event highlighted solar systems and energy storage in particular. It was a platform for knowledge sharing, technology showcase, networking, and collaboration among experts and policymakers in the area,” said Dr. Fan.

According to PV Magazine Australia, the home battery market in Australia is experiencing a surge of companies eager to establish their presence. Interestingly, all hopeful entrants focus on lithium-based chemistries, most of which manufacture their products in China.

However, PV Magazine highlighted that the level of preparedness to enter the market varied greatly among these companies. But it was evident that the competition in Australia’s home battery market was intensifying, with companies positioning themselves differently based on their readiness and approach to this rapidly evolving industry.

On notable innovations at the event, Dr. Fan pointed out various inverter sizes and technologies, energy storage technologies featuring batteries, and other measures such as flywheels.

2 Notable Innovations from The Event

Flywheel Energy Storage (FES): This cutting-edge technology harnesses rotational energy’s power. By accelerating a rotor, commonly known as a flywheel, to extremely high speeds, FES systems store energy within the system as rotational energy. As per the principle of energy conservation, when energy is extracted from the system, the flywheel’s rotational speed decreases, while adding energy causes the flywheel to spin faster. This unique approach to energy storage has gained attention for its efficiency and rapid response capabilities.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), most FES systems rely on electricity to accelerate and decelerate the flywheel. However, ongoing advancements are focused on developing devices that directly utilize mechanical energy, expanding the versatility of FES technology.

Image of a typical Flywheel battery.

Advanced FES systems feature rotors constructed from high-strength carbon-fiber composites and are suspended using magnetic bearings. These flywheels operate within a vacuum enclosure, spinning at remarkable speeds ranging from 20,000 to over 50,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). The ability of these advanced flywheels to rapidly reach their total energy capacity, often within minutes, sets them apart from some other storage technologies.

A critical review of flywheel energy storage systems published in the Wiley Online Library by Dr. Subhashree Choudhury, a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and an associate professor specializing in electrical and electronics engineering, noted only four disadvantages of Flywheels. Critical considerations for flywheel energy storage:
● Discharge level affects life cycle.
● Cost implications throughout the system’s lifespan.
● Regular maintenance is required.

On the flip side, the benefits of this energy storage battery significantly outweigh the drawbacks by a margin of approximately 46 to 1.

Blade batteries are specifically designed for electric vehicles.

The Blade Battery: This type of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery is specifically designed for electric vehicles (EVs). This innovative battery features a unique blade-like design, allowing for increased space utilization within the battery pack compared to conventional lithium iron phosphate block batteries.

It comes in various lengths and thicknesses, typically 96 centimeters long and 9 centimeters wide. Some EVs equipped with the Blade Battery can achieve a driving range of over 600 kilometers (373 miles).

One of the key advantages of the Blade Battery is its exceptional safety performance. Due to its exceptional safety performance and other advantages such as longevity, high power, and long-range, Chinese manufacturer BYD has made the Blade Battery the exclusive choice for all its pure electric passenger vehicles since July 2021.

The launch of the Blade Battery marks a significant advancement in EV battery technology, providing enhanced safety and performance for electric vehicles.

EIT’s Dr. Fan said the event, which will be held again next year, provided EIT an opportunity to connect with industry experts and the most advanced technologies in solar and storage.

“EIT also had the chance to build collaboration with the leading industry and academic experts from this event. What’s more, EIT attracted industry professionals to take our courses to upskill themselves,” she said.

REFERENCES

2023 Smart Energy Council Conference and Exhibition kicks off today in Sydney
Influx of new companies and products enter Australia’s battery market
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – Energy Storage Technologies Explained
Flywheel energy storage systems: A critical review on technologies, applications, and future prospects
BYD: Blade Battery Technology

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