- Battery Storage Facts and Figures
Battery Storage Facts and Figures
Batteries are ubiquitous. So much so that we almost forget how important they are in our daily lives. Today, Lithium Ion batteries are present in almost all portable consumer goods including your mobile phone, laptop, tablet, watch, radio, TV remotes, car – they are quite literally the power source of our daily lives!
A battery is essentially a device that stores chemical energy that is converted into electricity. Basically, they produce energetic electrons through a chemical reaction, ready to flow through the external device.
- Alessandro Volta discovered in 1800 that certain fluids would generate a continuous flow of electrical power when used as a conductor. This discovery led to the invention of the first voltaic cell, more commonly known as a battery.
- However, it is believed by some that more basic forms of batteries were used many hundreds of years earlier, potentially for electro plating – evidence of this is from the discovery of the Parthian Battery.
- Batteries have used many different materials in order to store electricity, from Lead Acid, Nickel Cadmium, Alkaline, even Mercury. Today Lithium is the predominant material used globally.
- A Lithium Ion battery is an electro chemical rechargeable battery invented in the 1970’s and have been in commercial production since early 1991.
- Inside a Lithium Ion battery is a collection of “cells” which contain electrodes (a cathode and anode), a separator (to separate the positive side from the negative) and electrolyte (usually a salt of Lithium Hexafluorophosphate). The chemical process of charging and discharging a battery is that lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. Figure 1.1 shows the electrochemical process of how a Lithium Ion battery works.
- Lithium Ion is used as it is rapidly charging, long-lasting, durable and safe. It provides convenience to our lives as well as much wider socio-economic benefits – they power how we communicate, do business and increasingly how we travel.
- Battery storage at the scale proposed is a natural extension to the common uses of batteries – storing the renewable energy Ireland produces for use within the electricity system which connects our homes.
- The Irish government recognises how important battery storage is and the savings that the technology can deliver to consumers. A program called ‘DS3’ has been designed to manage fluctuations in capacity. This provides for a more efficient electricity system.
- Through the efficiency improvements it is estimated that the DS3 program will save consumers €177 million per year from 2020 onwards.
- The significance of this is such that Ireland now has 738 MW of Lithium Ion based battery projects with both planning and grid connection applications underway.