ARENA awards Ecoult A$4.1 million for UltraBattery commercialization

Just days after signing the deal with Exide Industries, on February 14 Ecoult secured another boost with a funding pledge from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which has pledged A$4.1 million ($3.1 million) to commercialize the UltraBattery technology.

It is not the first time ARENA, the government agency, has lent support to Ecoult. In 2013 it provided the Sydney-based East Penn subsidiary with A$600,000 ($450,000) in the early stages of development of the technology, and this led to the UltraFlex product, a smaller 20 kW hybrid storage device.

“Our support for Ecoult demonstrates how ARENA works across the innovation chain to support research and development and build a vital bridge between commercial adoption and uptake,” said Ivor Frischknecht, the chief executive of ARENA.

“Storage is critical for increasing the reliability of our on-grid and off-grid power systems. It can give customers more control over their energy by storing solar through the day to use during the evening peak.

“This latest funding supports a A$10.6 million effort by Ecoult to improve its technology and pursue large-scale commercialization. It will enhance the battery’s performance and improve its ability to support both grid and offgrid applications.”

ARENA is keen to invest in renewable energy projects, with storage coming under its Emerging Renewables Program, for which it has an A$126 million budget. Just this week it approved a A$450,000 grant to Energy Australia for a potential pumped hydro energy storage project in South Australia.

The cost of electricity in Australia is among the highest in the world, and in the 2016 Residential Electricity Price Trends report, by the Australian Energy Market Commission, average residential bills were predicted to rise by up to A$204 a year by 2018/19.