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New battery technology for remote PV applications: A brief performance analysis

Low, Keng-Mun (2012) New battery technology for remote PV applications: A brief performance analysis. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

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Lead-acid batteries have always been the dominant choice of technology when it comes to energy storage in remote area power supply (RAPS) systems. This is because it is the cheapest and the most developed battery technology in the market. Now, a new battery technology, the sodium-ion battery, has emerged as a rival. The sodium-ion battery is claimed to offer many benefits over the lead-acid battery, such as: longer cycle life, greater depth-of-discharge, suitability for high temperature operations, suitability for partial state-of-charge (PSoC) operations, is completely recyclable and can be manufactured cheaply. A local Australian company has taken interest in this battery technology for use in their RAPS systems, and has approached Murdoch University with a battery test proposal to verify such claims. These battery testing activities form the basis of this Masters dissertation.

The test methodology employed in this project is meant to give the Client a basic idea of how the prototype sodium-ion battery behaves, and to evaluate its suitability for RAPS systems. The tests conducted can be categorised into characterisation tests and load simulation tests.

The characterisation tests revealed several interesting findings: the battery has a non-flat discharge curve, has a high self-discharge rate, and has high internal series resistance.

The load simulation tests so far demonstrate that the prototype sodium-ion battery has low energy efficiency at high currents, and the preliminary results indicate that its performance is not quite on par with the lead-acid battery. A lithium-ion battery included in the test for comparison shows a far superior performance. Further tests are still required on this Na-ion battery to see if it can meet its claimed specifications, and to further differentiate it from the lead-acid battery. Doing so will allow proper economic analysis on whether it will be a suitable replacement for lead-acid batteries.

Publication Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor: Pryor, Trevor
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