The first residential hydrogen energy storage system in the world that is about as tall as a person and wide as a low cabinet has made its official debut.
Although the 168 x 124 x 40cm equipment designed by Australian startup Lavo Hydrogen Technology that weighs at 324kg is relatively cumbersome compared to traditional lithium-ion battery energy storage systems, and can only be placed on the ground instead of wall mount installations, it contains the required functions, stores additional energy, and is able to store the excess power from rooftop solar panels, as well as produces hydrogen energy and oxygen through the electrolyzed hydrogen production technology.
According to the official website, the Lavo hydrogen energy system contains 4 hydrogen storage cans filled with the patented “metal hydride sponges” that are able to operate under 30bar of pressure and store 40kWh of energy, which is roughly 3 times the amount of Tesla Powerwall 2 at 13.4kWh, and will satisfy two days of usage for general households. The system achieves 20K cycles of storage and charging, and is also installed with a mini 5kWh lithium-ion battery unit to enhance on the speed of response.
Wi-Fi, monitoring, and control communication App are also configured in the hydrogen energy system to facilitate instantaneous observation on the level of hydrogen storage and usage. Lavo pointed out that such modular design requires a high level of power and is capable of installing multiple equipment to establish a virtual hydrogen power plant.
Although the system is able to store additional energy, for which users will not have to rely on the power grid when there is a deficiency of sun light, and has a lifespan of 30 years, which is more than double of lithium-ion batteries, as well as avoids deriving any toxic chemicals that will create recycling difficulties, it is priced at a whopping AU$34,750 (nearly NT$740K), which is the equivalence of 3 units of Powerwall, or one vehicle. Lavo hopes to reduce the price to AU$29,450 by the fourth quarter of 2022, and prepare for a global launch then.
Lithium-ion batteries are currently sitting at 90% in the charging and discharging efficiency, and in terms of the minimum loss storage and energy release, the hydrogen production method of proton exchange membrane adopted by hydrogen energy has a relatively lower effect at roughly 80%. There are several safety concerns regarding hydrogen energy, such as the proneness to fire, where a volume concentration between 4% and 75% in the air will result in combustion, thus flash points, combustion and explosion potentials, and explosive pressure must all be avoided, for which Lavo has commented that hydrogen will diffuse to the air once leaked, with a lower possibility in fire and explosion, and is much safer compared to the common materials of gasoline and natural gas.
(Cover photo source: Lavo)