The Holy Grail of Batteries?

By Deane Barker on August 13, 2009

New battery could change world, one house at a time: If this is legitimate, it would be revolutionary.  Battery technology is the only thing holding renewable power back from its full potential.  The inability to buffer solar or wind is a huge limitation, and this battery would give us that ability.

The company calculates that the battery will cram 20 to 40 kilowatt hours of energy into a package about the size of a refrigerator, and operate below 90 degrees C. […] Ceramatec says its new generation of battery would deliver a continuous flow of 5 kilowatts of electricity over four hours, with 3,650 daily discharge/recharge cycles over 10 years. With the batteries expected to sell in the neighborhood of $2,000, that translates to less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour over the battery’s life. Conventional power from the grid typically costs in the neighborhood of 8 cents per kilowatt hour.

Re-read that last paragraph and let the information really sink in. Five kilowatts over four hours — how much is that? Imagine your trash compactor, food processor, vacuum cleaner, stereo, sewing machine, one surface unit of an electric range and thirty-three 60-watt light bulbs all running nonstop for four hours each day before the house battery runs out. That’s a pretty exciting place to live.

To give you an idea of the capacity, my house is above average in size and we’re not that energy conscious.  We used 1,600 kWh during the hottest month of this year so far.  That’s 51 kWh per day, which is a bit above this capacity.

However, I’ve been running an informal survey of other people’s electrical usage, and there are a lot of people well down in the triple-digits for monthly usage, which is 20 – 30 kWh per day, which this battery could fully power.

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  1. You’ll just need two Deane. To be safe.

    Sounds brilliant, especially for the suppliers. They will be able to plan their patterns much better, and be less wasteful when generating power.

  2. I sure hope this is story holds up. It would make solar practical for me to go “off grid” for a good deal of the time. Up till now I have looked and it is just not worth the effort in the northern states like Pennsylvania.

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