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Cerenergy batteries “greener and cleaner”, says Altech

Altech Batteries is pushing for accreditation of its unique Cerenergy battery. Credit: File

European-focused Altech Batteries is seeking a green nod of approval for its Cerenergy sodium-chloride battery from the Centre of International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) after an independent study found it emitted 50 per cent fewer greenhouse gases than lithium-ion batteries – and without needing critical metals, lithium and cobalt.

A positive assessment from CICERO, a renowned environmental research centre, will put the company in a strong position to apply for important funding to grow its project. It is understood to be expecting a decision next quarter.

With the global express train rattling full throttle towards renewable energy sources, the importance of efficient energy storage systems is escalating rapidly.

Grid-storage batteries have emerged as a highly-promising solution to address the intermittency and variability associated with renewable energy sources. And Altech has jumped the gun on the trend by strategically focusing its efforts on the greener grid-storage battery market with its revolutionary sodium-chloride solid-state Cerenergy batteries.

Altech is pitching its product as a game-changing grid-storage alternative to lithium-ion batteries. The company has two key products – the ABS 60 battery pack and its bigger ABS 1000 grid-pack. The company claims they are fireproof, boast all-weather applications and have lower storage costs when compared to lithium-ion batteries.

The company’s battery technology is a product of its long-running partnership with German battery institute, Fraunhofer IKTS. The pair have a joint venture agreement, with plans to construct a 100MWh production facility on Altech’s land in the German State of Saxony to produce Cerenergy battery modules to provide grid-storage solutions to the market.

Management says the design of the plant is aimed at completing one battery cell every 45 seconds as the project’s definitive feasibility study continues to gather momentum.

Currently, lithium-ion batteries dominate the emerging grid-storage sector. But Altech recently commissioned an analysis of the carbon footprint of its salt battery in comparison to its competitors.

The Sustainable Technologies Laboratory at Bochum University of Applied Sciences in Germany examined the ecological implications of different battery types – specifically lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries and the sodium-chloride Cerenergy batteries. The study focused on greenhouse gas emissions as a key parameter and incorporated two scenarios related to end-of-life considerations, including waste management and battery lifespan.

The results indicate that the emissions of Cerenergy batteries are consistently far less than lithium and lead-acid batteries through the entire life cycle. The study found that the sodium-chloride batteries have at least 50 per cent lower emissions than lithium-ion batteries.

The reduced emissions by the Cerenergy batteries is based largely on the fact they do not rely on critical metals such as lithium, cobalt, copper, graphite and manganese – all of which are associated with high emissions from mining and extraction processes. Instead, Cerenergy batteries employ sodium-chloride, or common table salt, and nickel.

The planned battery plant in Saxony has been designed to minimise its greenhouse gas footprint by leveraging renewable energy sources. The site’s total power requirement is about 5MWh and the company is currently in negotiations to secure a renewable power supply for the facility.

Additionally, the plant has been designed with an expansive factory roof space dedicated to housing an array of photovoltaic panels that will harness solar energy during daylight hours and generate renewable power. To optimise energy usage, the plant will employ multiple banks of 1MWh grid-packs” to store excess energy during the day for use during night-time hours.

Management says by combining photovoltaic panels with energy storage capabilities, the Cerenergy battery plant will be a forerunner in sustainable practices.

"There is clearly an environmental advantage of the Cerenergy battery and proposed factory. Considering the GHG footprint evaluation conducted by independent groups, we anticipated from the outset that our batteries would be classified as ‘green batteries.’ We are currently in the official accreditation process". Altech Batteries managing director Iggy Tan

Altech’s commitment to sustainability includes a dedicated recycling facility and participation in the World Economic Forum’s ESG reporting program.

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