Gridential, EAI and battery consortium developing ‘bipolar’ batteries for behind-the-meter apps

Gridential battery

Behind-the-meter (BTM) energy storage is a critical piece for the decarbonization landscape with systems booming in demand. In the U.S. alone, Wood Mackenzie predicted 430 MW installed in 2020, reflecting an increase of more than 100% over 2019. This is driving the need for affordable, safe, high-performing batteries in easy-to-connect packages that incorporate renewable energy for the residential market.

Engineers at Gridtential Energy, Inc. and Electric Applications Incorporated (EAI), supported by the Consortium for Battery Innovation (CBI), are working to further develop quick and safe solar powered energy storage systems to meet the boom in demand for renewable, and secure, energy in U.S. homes. The CBI is the world’s only global pre-competitive research organization funding research into lead batteries for energy storage, motive and automotive applications.

Gridtential Energy is the pioneer of Silicon Joule, a bipolar battery technology that uses silicon wafers (similar to those in solar cells) in traditional lead batteries to reduce weight and achieve performance competitive with lithium-ion at a lower cost. The new research project will combine the Silicon Joule technology with the testing expertise of EAI to develop high-voltage reference batteries specifically for behind-the-meter energy storage applications.

“Integrated PV-battery backup system is a fantastic application for Silicon Joule technology due to its superior cycle life, low cost, safety, and recyclability; all of which are of utmost importance to residential consumers and small business owners and set this technology apart from other batteries,” said John Barton, CEO of Gridtential.

What’s next? The research collaboration will involve constructing mini-systems using Silicon Joule bipolar batteries for testing, with EAI developing an optimized charge scheme to replicate real-life energy storage systems. Building on CBI’s technical roadmap goals to maximize cycle life and energy throughput – two key technical parameters for renewable energy storage – this project is critical for delivering insights to enhance lead battery performance.

“This exciting partnership will delve into the performance of bipolar lead battery packs using sizing commonly seen in residential energy storage systems,” said Dr. Matt Raiford, Technical Manager of CBI.

“Demand reduction and renewable energy storage applications are a booming market for advanced lead batteries and the most popular in the residential sector” he added. “This project will contribute to a new battery technology being available to meet growing demand in the United States and further afield”.

As part of CBI’s 2021 research program dedicated to enhancing lead battery performance under the banner of energy storage, the project with Gridtential and EAI is pushing the boundaries to deliver next-generation batteries.

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