Silicon will blow lithium batteries out of water says Adelaide firm 

Posted: February 13, 2017 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation
Tags:

Credit: cleantechnica.com

Credit: cleantechnica.com


One claim by the developer is that ‘its devices could increase the revenue of a wind farm by 25 per cent, through increased output and exploiting higher wholesale prices when the wind isn’t blowing’. It has to be said that battery and storage innovations have a poor record of turning into commercial success, but as ever time will tell.

An Adelaide company has developed a silicon storage device that it claims costs a tenth as much as a lithium ion battery to store the same energy and is eyeing a $10 million public float, reports Sott.net.

1414 Degrees had its origins in patented CSIRO research and has built a prototype molten silicon storage device which it is testing at its Tonsley Innovation Precinct site south of Adelaide.

Chairman Kevin Moriarty says 1414 Degrees’ process can store 500 kilowatt hours of energy in a 70-centimetre cube of molten silicon – about 36 times as much energy as Tesla’s 14KWh Powerwall 2 lithium ion home storage battery in about the same space.

Put another way, he says the company can build a 10MWh storage device for about $700,000. The 714 Tesla Powerwall 2s that would be needed to store the same amount of energy would cost $7 million before volume discounts.

No comparison

“There’s no comparison. Except for a few specialized circumstances it will make them totally uneconomic frankly,” Mr. Moriarty said. “I don’t think it’s dawned on the market yet and it won’t until we get them into a real-world situation.”

1414 Degrees has raised $500,000 of a $2 million seed capital issue that it hopes to complete by the end of next month. It is in talks with a hydroponic herb farm and wind farm suppliers about pilot commercial scale trials of its technology, and is planning a $10 million public share issue to fund construction of the first two 200 megawatt hour units.

Mr. Moriarty is counting on 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the cost of these initial devices being funded by government subsidies because of the unique technology. The device stores electrical energy by using it to heat a block of pure silicon to melting point – 1414 degrees Celsius. It discharges through a heat-exchange device such as a Stirling engine or a turbine, which converts heat back to electrical energy, and recycles waste heat to lift efficiency.

The report continues here.

Comments
  1. Mike Bromley says:

    If such a storage medium exists at a reasonable price, then this is a breakthrough. Raw materials? Sand. Oh…but let’s break those bonds…….OK…..

  2. A storage device for a huge amount of energy is what most people call a bomb.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Another possibility…

    New, long-lasting flow battery could run for more than a decade with minimum upkeep
    Battery stores energy in nontoxic, noncorrosive aqueous solutions
    Date: February 9, 2017

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170209163838.htm

  4. It is just a pot of Silicon heated up, I wonder why they chose Silicon and not Aluminium, which has a higher specific heat value?

  5. A C Osborn says:

    What are the efficiency losses converting electricity to heat and heat back to electricity?

  6. Curious George says:

    Latent heat of fusion: Al 398 kJ/kg, Si 1,926 kJ/kg. A possible Carnot efficiency up to 80%. But it is mechanically very complex. Not many materials can withstand 1,414 degrees C.

  7. Graeme No.3 says:

    A C Osborn:
    Since they are talking about Stirling engines, the first refuge of greenery, I think they don’t know how to get the heat out. I may be doing them an injustice as their aside about a hydroponic farm getting both electricity and heat out looks good until you check the temperatures in Adelaide last week (44, 41, 39, 35 max. off the top of my head) – I don’t think that heat was in short supply.
    I think that using Stirling engines they are going to be limited to around 50% efficiency but with waste heat recovery boosting that figure. But there is a coal fired power station in Denmark claiming 90-91% efficiency as it heats the neighbourhood.

  8. Graeme No.3 says:

    oldbrew:
    Viologen is non-toxic?????? bipyridyl derivatives e.g. Paraquat.

  9. oldbrew says:

    Graeme – sounds odd, but it’s their headline not mine.

  10. oldmanK says:

    Qoute: “The device stores electrical energy by using it to heat a block of pure silicon to melting point – 1414 degrees Celsius. It discharges through a heat-exchange device such as a Stirling engine or a turbine”. Discharging via a power plant has a loss of at least 60%.

    Is that in the equation?

  11. Stephen Richards says:

    There is potential for large loses of energy through the process. I would not be putting money into this.

  12. oldbrew says:

    If they do the ‘pilot commercial scale trials of its technology’ any obvious problems should be exposed.

  13. It’s no more feasible than Flannery’s hot rocks; which was curtailed by the reality that high strength materials don’t have high strength at high temperatures; and worse still; their corrosion is accelerated when in superheated acids such as those in a bore-hole. Australian taxpayers sent $90million down Flannery’s borehole.

    It discharges through a heat-exchange device such as a Stirling engine or a turbine, which converts heat back to electrical energy, and recycles waste heat to lift efficiency.

    First; those are not heat exchange devices but energy conversion devices; heat engines. Second; even if they have a very good cold sink, regardless of the technology; they are limited by Carnot efficiency which is 82% with a cold sink temperature of 300K (not heat wave conditions in Australia).

    Engineers know that the Carnot cycle does no useful work; i.e. the attached generator won’t be producing any power. Real cycles such as those in a Stirling engine (which would have to be HUGE for substantial power as the cycle is only practical at low speeds) or a Brayton cycle (gas turbine) have substantially lower efficiencies. Somewhere around 60% peak.

    The practicality of getting heat out of something at over 1000°C in a durable machine is a real challenge. Even ceramics struggle to maintain integrity at 1400°C. The “turbines” mentioned would have to be some new technology to utilise 1400°C temperatures; practical commercial units peak at around 1000°C for the turbine inlet temperature.

    What remains is the problem of effective heat exchange at 1400°C.

    It’s really, really sad that governments hand out grants for fundamentally impractical projects. They seem to have no engineering expertise in assessing applications.

  14. John Silver says:

    LOL
    Not again.

  15. Poly says:

    With South Australia’s elite’s entrenched cultural stupidity, corruption, lying, incompetence and obsession with green/socialist fads I would not believe a word.
    Their record is unbelievable; Gerrymandering elections, paedophiles in the parliament and child services, hot rocks, demolishing base load power stations, mad renewable policies, hollowing out of industrialization and mining.
    Welcome to the failed Greece-like state of the south.

  16. Kip Hansen says:

    This heated silicon system is not really equivalent to batteries by any means. Pumped hydro could does the same thing — uses electricity from any source (wind, solar, tidal, or excess grid power in low demand periods) and stores energy as potential energy — gets it back by running the energy (elevated water for pumped hydro, heat->steam->turbine for silicon) to a generator.

    May be a good idea, may work, may be efficient — don’t know. But the need to have another physical power plant (turbine-generator) means a lot more physical stuff to maintain and repair.

    The end result is wind/solar to storage to power plant to grid….lots of ways to do that fairly efficiently.

  17. […] Source: Silicon will blow lithium batteries out of water says Adelaide firm  | Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  18. Mjw says:

    Samsung interested?

  19. oldbrew says:

    This process might be able to use surplus wind power.

    Development of an Electrolytic Cation Exchange Module for the Simultaneous Extraction of Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen Gas from Natural Seawater
    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.energyfuels.6b02586

  20. michael hart says:

    So it’s just another thermal storage device, right? With most of the problems of most other thermal storage systems, plus a few new ones.

    Well, if they can make it fly without subsidies, then good luck and best wishes. But I’d be surprised. A genuine breakthrough in energy storage might also be used by conventional generators if it is genuinely cost-effective without subsidies.

  21. michael hart says:

    “It discharges through a heat-exchange device such as a Stirling engine or a turbine, which converts heat back to electrical energy, and recycles waste heat to lift efficiency.”

    This of course begs the question “Then why aren’t other generators already using the same technologies to increase efficiency?”. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The answer is, of course, capital cost. As people sometimes point out, if you assume zero interest rates until infinity, then you can make any project financially “viable”.

  22. A C Osborn:
    Since they are talking about Stirling engines, the first refuge of greenery, I think they don’t know how to get the heat out.

    It discharges through a heat-exchange device such as a Stirling engine or a turbine, which converts heat back to electrical energy, and recycles waste heat to lift efficiency.

  23. A C Osborn:
    Since they are talking about Stirling engines, the first refuge of greenery, I think they don’t know how to get the heat out. So it’s just another thermal storage device, right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s