Development of a hybrid battery suitable for storing electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind is now a step closer.

The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Cleantech Ventures have invested in technology start-up Smart Storage to develop and commercialise a deep-cycle stationary battery that meets demanding variable operating conditions.

The Smart Storage battery, presently under development, will be suitable for grid-connected as well as remote applications, according to Dr John Wright, director of CSIRO's Energy Transformed Flagship.

The new battery aims to overcome the problems that have plagued current battery storage solutions, which undergo frequent deep discharging and are unable to meet high power demands. They are also considered expensive due to high initial cost and short battery life.

The inexpensive Smart Storage battery will be based on CSIRO’s ‘Ultrabattery’ which has been successfully trialled in hybrid vehicles. It combines an asymmetric ‘supercapacitor’ electrode and a lead-acid battery in a single unit cell. Advanced materials used for the electrodes and current management absorb and release charge rapidly at efficiencies well above conventional battery types.

It is expected that the discharge and charge power of the Smart Storage battery will be 50 per cent higher and its cycle-life at least three times longer than that of the conventional lead-acid counterpart.