The world's first-ever thermal battery plant will be unveiled in Andhra Pradesh by the state’s Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on August 6, 2018.
Manufactured by the Bharat Energy Storage Technology Private Limited (BEST), the first-of-its-kind batteries will aim to boost renewable sources of energy production and reduce the dependence on non-renewable fossil fuel-based energy generation.
The technology, which will help in mitigating carbon emissions, is best suited for grid balancing and stabilisations.
It will also be used to store energy for telecommunication, commercial establishments, electric vehicles and highway charging stations.
It can also be effectively used in remote locations, such as hilly terrains and islands.
• In the first phase, batteries suited for telecommunications, mini or microgrids and electric buses would be manufactured.
• The batteries are expected to run for up to 800kms on a single charge.
• Under the project, electric buses, produced in collaboration with Bilva Motors, a global consortium, could deliver an 800-kilometre range with a single charge, with the help of BEST's thermal cells.
• The cell can be customised to be charged in four or eight hours, depending on the source.
• It can also provide output ranging between 5Kwh and 1 Mwh.
• The thermal plant is expected to start commercial operations by May 2019.
Through thermal batteries, BEST will look to store energy that can power telecommunications, commercial enterprises, electric vehicles as well as charging systems.
Not only will it help create renewable energy, but these batteries are also expected to help provide energy to remote areas.
By 2025, BEST aims to expand the capacity of its thermal battery plant to 10GW.
• Though solar power is considered the most reliable source of energy, yet it has its drawbacks, as energy generation is not possible after sunset and in high rainfall areas, which brings in the need for a robust energy storage infrastructure.
• Hence, the unveiling of the thermal battery plant is a landmark development in the field of technology and environmental protection.
• The existing energy storage technologies depend on Lithium-based batteries, which are limited by life cycles, making it a very expensive proposition with replacements needed every 6-7 years. They are also low on energy density and need a high footprint.
• Further, Lithium's sensitivity to extreme temperatures requires the energy storage systems to be placed in conditioned temperatures, requiring about 8- 10 per cent energy storage for the cause.