Sodium-nickel-chloride battery could fit the bill for India

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From pv magazine Germany.

A new ceramic high-temperature battery for stationary storage that is set to be unveiled in Germany could answer yesterday’s call by minister Suresh Prabhu for storage solutions tailored to the Indian market.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS) will launch its “cerenergy” solution at the Energy Storage Europe 2019 show, in Düsseldorf in March.

The product could be well suited to India’s harsh climate as the operating temperature of ceramic battery solutions is 300 degrees Celsius and the cerenergy system can be efficiently and economically operated using vacuum insulation, according to Fraunhofer IKTS, meaning air conditioning is not necessary even in extreme ambient temperatures.

And with India one of the world’s largest salt producers, cerenergy’s use of sodium rather than rare earth materials could also make similar technologies perfect for manufacture in south Asia.

Abundant basic material

“The sodium nickel chloride battery is essentially based on common salt – there is hardly a cheaper and more readily available raw material,” explained Roland Weidl, head of department at Fraunhofer IKTS. “And we also completely dispense with rare earths or other strategic raw materials.”

Cerenergy is a 5 kWh battery with 20 cells, the Energy Storage Europe fair’s organizer Messe Düsseldorf said. The costs at cellular level would be less than €100/kWh (Rs8,125) – about half those of lithium-ion battery cells. Cerenergy therefore sets a world record for sodium-nickel-chloride battery cells, according to Messe Düsseldorf, with the module said to be ready for production in the months ahead.

Overall efficiency is reported to be more than 90% and energy density is 130 W/kg.

The principle of the technology has been known since the 1990s and it has now become possible to adapt the technology for applications to PV home storage. Another essential component of the battery is a ceramic sodium ion-conductor based on aluminum oxide, nickel and iron.

Energy Storage Europe 2019 will take place from March 12-14.