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On Thurs, 28 Aug 2014 the federal govt released long-awaited recommendations from the Renewable Energy Target (RET) Review that will either abolish the upfront federal subsidy for solar energy, or severely slash it, for systems up to 100kW.

An announcement from the Govt as to which option it will choose is imminent. Contracts entered into prior to any announcement will protect your subsidy.

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1. Simply complete the green form on this page to obtain your impartial Quote Comparison of leading installers covering your area.

2. Select three installers that best suit your needs and budget to reveal their names and logos, then select your prefered installer by clicking "View and Accept Quote".

3. Follow instructions on deposit payment options, following which you will be emailed a PDF of your Accepted Quote (as will your selected installer who'll contact you, and Solar Choice).

Your subsidy will then very likely be protected under transitional provisions recommended by the RET Review.

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Nano yolks

Significant breakthrough made in the development of energy storage

by Rebecca Boyle on January 10, 2013

in Batteries & Energy Storage,Solar Choice News,Solar System Products

Scientists at SLAC and Stanford University have set a world record for energy storage. The innovative design stores five times more energy than commercially available battery storage technology, additional tests show that the system maintained a high level of performance after 1,000 charge/discharge cycles. This is an exciting development as it paves the way for longer-lasting, lighter batteries for portable devices and electric vehicles.

Commercial energy storage solutions today

At the present time batteries are made of lithium ions, they work by moving the lithium ions between two electrodes (cathode and anode). When charging the battery all ions and electrons are pushed towards the anode, when using the battery the ions and electrodes are move back towards the cathode. The long term performance of today’s batteries is typically reduced to around 80 percent after 500 charge/discharge cycles.

Researches have known for some time that sulphur could potentially allow more lithium ions to be stored, and therefore more energy than the current chemical compositions. However, there were several issues that scientists had to overcome as a result of the chemical reaction between the lithium ions and sulphur cathode.

New developments

The breakthrough made by scientists was to develop a cathode made of nano particles, these consist of a ‘yolk’ of sulphur surrounded by a porous ‘shell’ of titanium-oxide. The addition of the titanium-oxide protects the sulphur from dissolving, while the space between the ‘yolk’ and ‘shell’ allows the expansion and contract of the sulphur cathode without cause damage. What made this process more impressive is the scale at which it has been developed, each cathode particle is 800 nanometers in diameter which equates to one-hundredth of the diameter of a human hair.

SULFUR-YOLK-SHELL-Figure1

History of sulphur cathode development

The lead researcher of the project Yi Cui, a Stanford associate professor of materials science, said of the breakthrough:

“This is the highest performing sulfur cathode in the world, as far as we know, even without optimizing the design, this cathode cycle life is already on par with commercial performance. This is a very important achievement for the future of rechargeable batteries.”

Since 2005 Cui’s research group has developed a series of increasingly efficient anodes using silicon as it can store up to 10 times more charge per weight than a carbon equivalent. The future research goal for the group is to combine the sulphur cathode with a silicon anode (both utilising the yolk-shell design) to investigate whether this will produce a high-energy, long-lasting battery.

As the technology is still at the research phase there is no expected time scale for commercial availability, but this development is an important step towards answering some of the criticisms of today’s electric vehicles.

© 2013 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

 

Rebecca Boyle

Rebecca is a sustainable development and marketing graduate, with a background in community engagement and research. She has a particular interest in sustainable resource use.

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