Tesla’s energy storage could have new local competition

Advanced knowledge on battery development and engineering is being harnessed locally in the latest laboratories belonging to the University of Western Cape (UWC).

Prototypes of new energy storing batteries were revealed during UWC's launch of their Energy Storage Innovation Lab (Esil) on Wednesday.

Professor Ben Bladergroen, Head of Esil, says the batteries use lithium ion battery technology to store power, much like Elon Musk's Tesla Powerwall offering.

We unveiled a couple of our prototype batteries which are considered to be advanced. They will compete with the current use of lead acid, which is not really good for the storage and release of large amounts of energy. So we unveiled a lithium ion battery, which is not itself new, but the technology is new to South Africa. We are looking at battery packs with a couple of kilowatts.

Power to the battery packs

According to Bladergroen, the battery packs will store a few kilowatts of energy and will last about seven times longer than lead acid batteries. He says they are chargeable using conventional electricity and most ideal for households and businesses affected by load shedding.

Bladergroen says that the battery packs will be available at two kilowatt, four kilowatt and seven kilowatt storage levels.

The Esil teams are working to provide alternative methods to store electricity that South Africans can draw power from in light of the ongoing load shedding and energy crisis.

Listen to the full conversation on CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:


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