ZEN Energy Systems, a South Australian energy firm, is claiming an international breakthrough in battery technology that will help generators of solar and wind power store their energy more cheaply.
They recently unveiled a computer-controlled storage system – with one model about the size of a bar fridge – which almost doubles the effectiveness of batteries. This system was co-developed with a US-based sister firm, Greensmith Energy Management Systems.
As many as 10 Australian utilities are interested in trialling the system and the company has already begun shipping large-scale container-sized units to US clients.
Residential units with a 20-kilowatt-hour story capacity – enough to power a typical house for 24 hours – will sell for $30,000AUD each. This should drop to $20,000AUD as ZEN scales up production, with an estimated pay-back period of 10 years based on savings consumers can make by avoiding peak power prices.
ZEN will also target regional communities living off the main power grid as potential customers, with many remote sites now solely reliant upon diesel generation for electricity.
Paired with a back-up diesel engine, the storage system would help reduce dependence on diesel power.