For businesses, access to clean, reliable and affordable energy has become an integral aspect of remaining competitive in a rapidly changing world. Thankfully, the evolution of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) technology means we are increasingly able to rely on batteries to do the heavy lifting when it comes to energy independence, when coupled with solar generation.
For businesses, the opportunities are threefold.
There is the ability to optimise energy consumption, reduce costs, and embrace environmentally responsible practices. To achieve that, finding the right type of battery is critical, which is where Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) battery technology comes in. A revolutionary step forward, LTO batteries offer some incredible features.
Beyond that, there is also the growing potential to do more with batteries, through second-life batteries. Rather than recycling, this involves repurposing energy storage systems, allowing maximum returns from every battery created.
The great news is that in both of these areas, Australia is well-poised to become a global leader.
Australia’s First Battery Gigafactory
The best example of the positive forward steps Australia is taking in the battery industry is the 450 -sqm Energy Renaissance gigafactory. Located in Tomago, NSW, and the brainchild of a visionary entrepreneur, this is a major centre for innovation and advanced manufacturing.
At full operation, this factory is capable of producing an incredible 5.3 gigawatt hours of energy storage every year. It will also employ 700 individuals, breathing new life into a regional town and developing greater skills in Australian manufacturing, as well as helping the drive towards sustainability.
The batteries manufactured here can be tailored to store power for the industrial, agricultural, commercial, and utility sectors. By being built locally, they will also be designed to work in Australia's diverse and challenging climate conditions.
Pioneering Possibilities with Lithium Titanate Batteries
The batteries that will be produced at the Tomogo factory will be game changers. In the realm of BESS technology, LTO batteries represent such a significant step forward that they redefine our understanding of energy storage.
Some of the key advantages of LTO batteries include:
- Expedited Charging. The remarkable quick-charging capability of LTO batteries enables a single cell to fully recharge within just six minutes. This is so fast that where these batteries are applied to cars, they will enable the vehicle to be fully charged in less than 20 minutes.
- Wide Temperature Range Suitability. Operating optimally across extreme temperatures ranging from -40°C to +60°C, LTO batteries prove their mettle in harsh conditions, eliminating the need for additional equipment to sustain functionality.
- Extended Lifespan. With a design tailored for longevity, LTO batteries boast a life of 30,000 full depth-of-discharge cycles, outshining other lithium-ion counterparts and achieving a lifespan of as much as 30 years.
- High Charge/Discharge Capability. LTO batteries exhibit an exceptional lithium-ion diffusion coefficient, facilitating high-intensity charging and discharging rates. What this means is that not only is it possible to transfer energy quickly, but it can also support the output of high levels of power as needed.
- Cost Efficiency. Finally, LTO batteries are incredibly cost-effective. They offer users a lifetime cost of approximately USD$0.05 per stored kWh, significantly undercutting other lithium and wet technologies.
These features will allow batteries to be used in ways that hadn’t previously been envisioned and for entirely new applications. Yes, the energy density of LTO batteries may lag behind certain counterparts, so it’s not a perfect technology, but the resilience, lifespan, and sheer efficiency of the batteries are going to see them standardised as a leading choice among BESS technology options.
Unlocking the Potential of Second Life Batteries
Innovative thinking doesn’t just belong to the construction of new batteries: what people are doing to prolong the life and value of batteries, and prevent them from becoming a waste concern, is also inspiring.
Second life batteries are a captivating concept. They represent the idea that batteries can serve a new, alternative purpose once they are no longer viable for their original application.
A good example of this might be in powering vehicles. The demands on batteries there are massive, and they reach the end of their usefulness quickly – generally when the residual capacity is around 70-80 per cent. That’s enough remaining capacity that they could offer extended value to the energy grid. By incorporating these batteries into the grid and using them to support the energy powered by wind and solar, we can create a sustainable landscape that minimises waste and offers incredibly long product cycles.
As the electric vehicle market burgeons, the potential of second life batteries becomes increasingly pronounced, creating a circular economy where waste transforms into value, and sustainability takes centre stage. It’s truly an exciting time to be in Australia as we ramp up and make this a sector that we can be proud of as a nation.