Battery and energy storage firm, AceOn has been awarded a $1.4 million grant from the Innovate UK Energy Catalyst 8 Fund to accelerate development work on its mobile solar energy storage unit. The new mobile solar energy storage unit has massive potential to bring clean power to the people of Africa.
The newly-designed product will use Sheffield-based Faradion’s sodium-ion batteries – the first time its technology is in commercial use in sub-Saharan Africa.
AceOn will be working in partnership with the University of Wolverhampton, DZP Technologies, a specialist battery materials development company, and Nigeria-based energy and power company Nevadic Limited to deliver the innovative government-backed project.
Mark Thompson, AceOn’s group managing director, stated that the new solar energy storage unit could bring clean, sustainable and affordable power to millions of people around the globe – and that the company was leading the world in adopting the next-generation sodium-ion technology.
“Sodium-ion represents a real step-change in technology and we really are leading the way in finding one of the first commercial applications for it in Africa. Our mobile storage unit will play a massive part in bringing clean, affordable and sustainable power to some of the world’s poorest regions — and develop new technology that will help fight climate change all over the world. It is fantastic that the government, through Innovate UK, sees the huge potential of this technology and have placed their confidence and funding in us here at AceOn to deliver it successfully.“
“The funding is to develop this technology to integrate with solar energy generation to provide affordable, safe power for use initially in Nigeria. But our plan is to roll this out to a truly global market to answer the urgent need for clean, sustainable energy.”
Dave Nwosu, Chief Executive Officer for Nevadic Ltd, commented that Nigeria is a perfect test-bed for developing this technology — the country has “soaring electricity prices, there is a clear need for innovation in energy supply, and lessons learnt from this project will be shared with other countries.”
The project will start in October and run for two years.
The company’s bid was just one of five from 126 submissions to be granted funding by Innovate UK, the nation’s innovation agency.
Alice Goodbrook, innovation lead, energy at Innovate UK, said: “All over the world, Innovate UK-supported companies are improving lives of people in developing countries.”
Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, said: “Sustainable energy generation and storage is a fundamental requirement if we are to tackle climate change effectively. We are excited to be working on this innovative project.”
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The project will see the development of a new version of AceOn’s solar energy generator to enable full integration with sodium-ion batteries, including hardware and software development, and scalable to 1MW. New diagnostics tools and a battery management system will also be developed.
It will also create a new trailer to transport the equipment, new assembly and maintenance systems to enable pack assembly, repair, and re-use locally in Nigeria, and include a full life cycle analysis of the system, including its environmental impact.