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The march towards reliable energy storage is gaining momentum, and it's technologies like lithium-ion batteries that are leading the change.

“The problem utilities have with renewables is that a lot of times when you can produce – for example, during peak sun times for solar systems – are different from the times of the maximum load demand,” explains Jeff Everett, director of Product Development at Discover Energy. “For example, when you wake up in the morning, make your toast, and have your hot showers, you're using a lot of electricity. But then you're at work during the time your solar system is producing a lot of electricity. So there's an a demand to solve that problem between production and demand, and the only way to do that is with a reliable energy storage solution.”

Lithium-ion is among the most promising solutions, offering greater durability, a lighter weight, and greater flexibility over traditional lead acid alternatives. This makes them ideal for use in a wide range of consumer and commercial applications, including home battery systems, electric vehicles, and all manner of off-grid energy systems.

“Lithium technology is inherently very energy dense, mass efficient, and capable of handling thousands of charge and discharge cycles with no memory effect,” says Huang Iu Senior Engineer at Canadian Energy. “Those factors alone have opened up the usability of energy storage into many different types of applications.”

Within its own product line, Iu says, Canadian Energy has incorporated Discovery Energy's lithium-ion's batteries in its Containerized Universal Battery (CUB), a technology designed for use in micro-grids and off-grid systems in remote communities. “What our CUB system can do is allow these communities to integrate a solar array or wind turbine into their distribution system and, along with providing energy storage, allow them to manage that flow of generating capacity and load output to ensure the system is operating as efficiently as possible.”

Up next, Canadian Energy will be leveraging lithium-ion technology in its CUB Nano line of products for residential energy home storage. Here again, the technology will allow homeowners to connect renewable energy sources to their homes and self-consume energy generated by solar array systems.

“If we were to use lead acid batteries, the system would be much larger, heavier, and more difficult to install. So what we're trying to show the marketplace with our CUB products is the ease of installation and attractiveness of the whole package,” notes Iu.

Discover Energy is also showcasing the versatility in its lithium-ion series of Advanced Energy Systems (AES) for residential applications, both on or off the grid.

“Depending on what you're trying to do with the system, you may only need one unit. But for higher loads, you can size your battery to support those loads for the period of time you need. That means you can parallel multiple batteries together,” explains Everett.

As with any new technology, reservations to lithium-ion technology are to be expected. For consumers, one of the biggest ones is the upfront price of lithium-ion batteries, which is typically higher than older technologies. Addressing this, Everett insists, “Lithium-ion has a much higher cycle life, so while you're spending a little more upfront, the total costs of ownership is actual lower.”

Reservations aside, both Iu and Everett are confident that once the benefits are better understood, consumers invest in the long-term advantages. 

Huang Iu is a senior engineer with Canadian Energy and Jeff Everett is a director of Product Development at Discover Energy. For more, visit www.cdnrg.com.

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