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DOE completes major advance in battery design

By Max Burkhalter
May 21, 2013

Being a kid during the holidays in the 90s was always tons of fun, except for one thing - batteries. Many of the coolest gifts were flashy, made lots of loud bangs and whistles, could do cool mechanical things and, of course, require batteries. And no, batteries were never included and, of course, everybody was always out of AA batteries around the holidays. When it came to lighting up the holidays, batteries never seemed up to the task. Similarly, renewable energy resources, particularly intermittent solutions like wind and solar power, have not benefited substantially from existing battery solutions. That could change soon.

Wind and solar power sources depend on batteries to serve as a reliable energy storage option . The intermittent nature of sunlight and wind makes it difficult to provide consistent power and batteries are often needed to store unused energy so it is available when people need it. However, battery technologies have not been up to the task of supporting large-scale solar and wind operations for use in the utility grid. A recent Department of Energy project may have found a solution to this problem.

The DOE's new battery
The DOE's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have been using resources from a variety of of laboratories and research facilities to develop a new battery. The research team, which was led by Yi Cui, a Stanford associate professor and member of the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences, developed a new flow model for batteries that could provide a cost-efficient and long-life energy storage solution that could resolve power fluctuations in existing wind and solar setups. Much of the research was performed with the help of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR).

Taking full advantage of batteries and intermittent energy solutions
Getting the most from batteries in the utility grid depends on using distribution automation and other smart grid technologies to draw the right amounts of power from the network at any time. This can lead to major network issues if the utility systems used at the solar or wind farm are built around serial connectivity options. In such a setting, terminal servers play an integral role in connecting the utility solutions to the Ethernet network. This makes it much easier for utility providers to control power distribution and take full advantage of intermittent power solutions.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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