Tesla to build the world’s largest lithium bat­tery

Bil­lion­aire Musk of­fers to build a bat­tery farm

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

SYDNEY: Elon Musk’s Tesla will build what the mav­er­ick en­tre­pre­neur claims is the world’s largest lithium ion bat­tery within 100 days, mak­ing good on a Twit­ter prom­ise to ease South Aus­tralia’s en­ergy woes. Bil­lion­aire Musk tweeted an of­fer to help build a bat­tery farm in March af­ter South Aus­tralia was hit with a to­tal black­out when an “un­prece­dented” storm wrecked power trans­mis­sion tow­ers in 2016.

“This sys­tem will be three times more pow­er­ful than any sys­tem on Earth,” Musk told re­porters in the state cap­i­tal Ade­laide. Tesla has built the world’s cur­rent largest bat­tery, which came on­line in Cal­i­for­nia in De­cem­ber, Musk said, adding that the South Aus­tralian bat­tery would be 100 megawatts-enough to power 30,000 homes. “This is not a mi­nor foray into the fron­tier... I’m pretty darn im­pressed with South Aus­tralia will­ing to do a project of this mag­ni­tude that is be­yond any­thing else in the world,” Musk said. “That takes a lot of gump­tion... I do see this as some­thing that the world will look at as an ex­am­ple.” The bat­tery will be built in Jamestown, 230 kilo­me­ters (143 miles) north of Ade­laide and will be paired with a nearby wind farm run by Neoen, a French re­new­able en­ergy com­pany, South Aus­tralian Premier Jay Weather­ill said. Ex­perts said the bat­tery could help trans­form the re­new­able en­ergy land­scape by ad­dress­ing the in­ter­mit­tent na­ture of sources such as wind and so­lar by pair­ing them with a large-scale elec­tric­ity stor­age sys­tem.

“Vari­abil­ity is one of the key chal­lenges in in­te­grat­ing large amounts of re­new­ables into power sys­tems as we try and get towards 100 per­cent re­new­ables,” Ariel Lieb­man of Monash Univer­sity’s MEMSI en­ergy in­sti­tute said. “So we need a bal­anc­ing mech­a­nism that helps take some ex­cess pro­duc­tion when th­ese things are pro­duc­ing a lot and then dis­trib­ute it into the sys­tem when it’s needed and there’s not so much pro­duc­tion.” Bat­tery ‘com­mon sense’ Musk said it was “com­mon sense that if you have so­lar you must have bat­tery be­cause oth­er­wise your power is go­ing to be pro­por­tion­ate to how sunny it is”.

“I specif­i­cally think that the con­sis­tently low­er­ing cost of bat­ter­ies, cou­pled with re­new­ables, is go­ing to fun­da­men­tally re­shape the en­ergy land­scape much faster than any­one thinks it will,” Cal Lank­ton, Tesla’s vice pres­i­dent of global in­fra­struc­ture op­er­a­tions, added. Musk ac­knowl­edged his com­pany had to over­come the tech­ni­cal risks associated with build­ing a project at such a large scale, but said Tesla was con­fi­dent of its suc­cess. The high-fly­ing firm, known for pro­duc­ing elec­tric cars, has agreed to de­liver the bat­tery “within 100 days or it is free”, Weather­ill added.

No fig­ures were given for the cost of the con­tract. Neoen, which has built ma­jor projects around the world since be­ing set set up in 2008, op­er­ates Europe’s big­gest so­lar en­ergy park in south­west France, which can pro­duce the equiv­a­lent an­nual elec­tric­ity to sup­ply a town of 300,000 peo­ple. South Africa-born Musk has en­vis­aged Tesla as a com­pany that can help re­duce emis­sions by not only sell­ing peo­ple elec­tric cars, but also gen­er­at­ing and stor­ing the re­new­able en­ergy that pow­ers them. Aus­tralia is one of the world’s worst per capita green­house gas pol­luters due to heavy use of coal-fired power.— AFP


ADE­LAIDE: South Aus­tralia’s Premier Jay Weather­ill (left) and Tesla Mo­tors CEO Elon Musk are pic­tured in this photo in Ade­laide. Elon Musk’s Tesla said it will build what the mav­er­ick en­tre­pre­neur claims is the world’s largest lithium ion bat­tery within 100 days, mak­ing good on a Twit­ter prom­ise to ease South Aus­tralia’s en­ergy woes.

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