Published on: Aug 16, 2017 | by Meagan Evans
UltraCharge Limited (ASX: UTR) continues its push to establish itself as a major player in the global battery technology market.
The company has completed a review of its recently acquired battery technology and has identified an iron-based flow battery technology as the leading intellectual property.
A flow battery is a type of rechargeable electrochemical cell. The technology is fast growing in the energy storage market, as the value in having a storage solution for sources of renewable energy becomes more widely recognised. Currently, if energy produced by wind or solar can’t be stored then it goes to waste.
Flow battery technology supports the widespread use of renewable energy, for utility-scale applications and integration into energy grids.
When integrated with renewable energy sources, the technology provides energy reliability and availability. It allows for the storing of intermittently produced solar and wind power, which can be dispatched into the electricity grid to meet demand as it arises.
This makes for efficient use of renewable energy by enabling load balancing during peak demand and off-peak power storage, resulting in an uninterrupted power supply.
A look at costs and competition
Initial analysis by UTR indicates the technology has low installation costs of around $250/kwh at a system cost of 1MW. Operating costs are estimated to be up to half the cost of diesel alternatives, while capital expenditure is predicted to be $200/kw DC.
By way of comparison, it is estimated that by 2020 Tesla’s PowerPack will run at 15 to 16c/kwh, higher than that of UTR’s Iron Flow storage solution at 13c/kwh.
The review follows the announcement earlier this month, that UTR had acquired new battery technology via an exclusive licensing agreement with NASDAQ-listed Arotech Corp.’s Epilsor Electric Fuel Limited.
This was a timely acquisition of new battery IP by Ultracharge, seeing as the renewable energy sector is expected to reach US$777 billion by 2019. That’s after demand for new energy storage technology rises by a massive 47% in the 2017 year.
The expected exponential growth in energy storage technologies will support UTR as it seeks to revolutionise the lithium battery market with a battery that is safe, has a longer lifetime, and is faster charging than that of existing lithium batteries.
It should be noted, however, that any further catalysts are speculative at this stage and should not be taken as guaranteed. Investors should seek professional financial advice for further information.
The growth potential is being compared to that of solar energy, and will expand UTR’s target market from its focus on electrical vehicles, to a wider array of applications, including households, energy storage for remote communities, utility-scale and grid integration applications.
Australia could prove to be a particularly lucrative market to be selling into. Due to its high cost of electricity, the number of households with solar panels, and its extensive solar resources, Australia is predicted to be the world’s largest battery storage market.
Having technology that can reduce electricity costs for households and for communities in remote and rural locations, UTR’s iron flow battery IP has the potential to meet this market demand.
The findings of this review adds further value to UTR’s IP portfolio, and helps position the company as a major player in the global battery technology market.