A mobile unit designed to test battery energy storage installations under real-world operating conditions is to tour Australia once it is built, the head of the research team behind it has announced.

Credit: BYD

Associate professor Nesimi Ertugrul of the University of Adelaide heads the A$2m ($1.5m) project, which is funded by government, private industry and in-kind contributions. The team aims to deploy the unit, which will consist of two shipping containers housing testing equipment in one and inverters for power connections in the other, in early 2016.

“We will build a mobile test setup which can test the batteries themselves, the technology’s applications under real environments as well as simulated conditions,” Ertugrul said. The team also plans to upload the data it gathers to a publicly accessible database.

“Energy storage is becoming a very active industry,” Ertugrul continued. “There are various commercial reports that make it apparent that in the next ten to twenty years, the market size will be over A$20bn.There are implications for domestic use, small industry and very large scale storage. In addition, there is an implication on power quality and the stability of the system.”

According to Ertugrul, energy storage will make renewable energy installations more predictable than they are at present, as in one case where power from a renewable source dropped from 1000 MW to 100 MW within 10 minutes.

“That much fluctuation is not acceptable,” he said. “Adding power, as well as removing it, is not desirable for large-scale power systems. It can make them unstable and cause unwanted blackouts.”