TUCKED away inside a nondescript industrial shed in Brisbane’s western suburbs, rows of box-like batteries that could one day power entire towns are quietly humming away. Engineers at homegrown renewable energy company Redflow are hoping these hi-tech “flow” batteries will relegate the traditional power grid to history.
Unlike traditional lead acid or lithium batteries, the new generation batteries being tested at Redflow’s research centre can discharge 100 per cent of their power, making them perfect for storing energy from wind and solar. Since wind and solar energy cannot provide power around the clock, more efficient storage systems in the form of batteries are being developed to fill the gap. Lithium-ion batteries, used in Tesla electric cars, are perhaps the best known but flow batteries are quickly catching up.