Energy Storage Using Graphite
Energy Storage Using Graphite

In what is believed to be a world first, purified graphite is being used for energy storage in systems being installed at Lake Cargellico in New South Wales and Cloncurry in Queensland. The Queensland installation will make Cloncurry, which has a population of about 2,400,  the first town in Australia to rely exclusively on solar power.

The purified graphite technology was invented by Australian Scientist, Bob Lloyd, while working for the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation. A separate company, Lloyd Energy Systems, was set up to develop the technology.

The Company’s research has led to a $5 million contract for an advanced energy storage system for Lake Cargellico and an agreement with Ergon Energy to build a $30 million plant in Cloncurry.

The Cloncurry system will rely exclusively on a concentrated solar power system containing almost 7,200 mirrors. The mirrors will guide the sun’s rays into holes in the bases of 54 elevated graphite blocks, heating them to 1800 degrees celsius. The stored heat will be used to produce steam which will drive turbines on demand.

The Lake Cargellico installation will have 2,200 mirrors and 16 graphite blocks.

The graphite blocks are each the size of a shipping container – making the system easily deployed to remote locations. Other heat storege systems, which use water or underground compressed air, cannot be relocated.

A third graphite-storage system is planned for King Island off the North coast of Tasmania. This installation, a joint venture with Hydro Tasmania, will use wind power to generate the stored heat.

The system’s mobility and flexibility has also caught the attention of the mining industry.

(The picture shows a demonstration graphite storage system located near Cooma, NSW.)

For more information: