198: Hydrogen home batteries


How to store the electricity generated by solar farms so it can be available to sell on the electricity market during peak demand when the sun does not shine.


Store the energy in hydrogen batteries

A research team led by Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou at the Material Energy Research Laboratory in nanoscale (MERLin), part of the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales  has spent twelve years developing metal alloys (particularly titanium with other common materials) capable of storing surplus electricity in the form of hydrogen much more cheaply than lithium batteries.

The system uses solar power to create hydrogen, 3 mass % of which can be stored over 10 years until needed for electricity production via a fuel cell.

The solid-state mix can operate in a range of temperatures, from -10° to +50° – depending on the climate the storage is intended for.

Since 2016, Aguey-Zinsou has secured over $3 million in grant funding and established the EnergyH Project, a hydrogen research laboratory unique to the Australia scene.

In 2020, with UNSW’s Hydrogen Energy Research Centre backed by $10 million from Providence Asset Group, this solid state hydrogen technology will be trialed at the community solar farm at Manilla, near Tamworth to store hydrogen in 20 ft (6 m) containers with an energy density of 17MWh becoming the first of this kind in the world in terms of scale.

The startup, H2Store plans to produce the world’s first hydrogen batteries, brand-named LAVO, for households as soon as early 2021, eventually freeing Australia of its dependence on coal.

What you can do: Preorder a LAVO hydrogen battery now

Discover Solution 199: Artificial ice

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