Dr Tadhg Kennedy’s  TRIDENT project will receive €3.65 in state funding to develop a sustainable smart battery system for residential energy storage.

On the 22nd of April 2021, the Government announced an investment of €95m for ground breaking projects under its Disruptive Technologies Fund.

The goal of the TRIDENT project is to develop a low-cost, high-performance sodium-ion smart battery system for residential energy storage using entirely sustainable materials and processes. The TRIDENT smart battery system will be a plug-and-play solution that can be installed in a household utility room and will empower the consumer to take an active role in the energy market, storing energy in times of low demand and selling back to the grid in times of high demand. The innovative solution will introduce flexibility to the energy markets, a key requirement for Ireland if the country is to meet its renewable energy targets.

The TRIDENT battery chemistry will be optimised for sustainability, consisting of a hard carbon anode derived from biowaste and a cathode derived from iron sulphate (a common food additive).

Dr Tadhg Kennedy, a Lecturer at the Department of Chemical Sciences and coordinator of the TRIDENT project explained: “The ecological design of the chemistry will lead to a 50% reduction in both materials cost and global warming potential (GWP) per kWh compared to Li-ion battery manufacturing. At the hardware level, a complete wireless battery monitoring system will be designed. To couple the TRIDENT smart battery system to the home and grid, a low-cost, high-efficiency grid-tie storage inverter system will be also designed and proven. An innovative controller system will also be developed that will allow the TRIDENT smart battery system to connect to the electricity grid for a range of applications including peer-to-peer trading of energy and peak shaving.”

Sustainability and cost effectiveness will drive component design at all levels, leading to a best-in-class sodium-ion smart battery for residential energy storage. The project goals will be delivered by Irish partners spanning the battery value chain, including materials synthesis, battery management systems and electric power transmission.

Partners on the project are Tyndall National Institute, Analog Devices, mSemicon, ICERGi Limited, Glantreo, TisaLabs and Smart M Power. Furthermore, the project has been fully endorsed by MIDAS, the Industry Association for Microelectronics and Electronic Systems Design in Ireland.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar T.D., the Minister for Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris T.D. and the Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy T.D. today announced that 29 exciting new projects have succeeded in securing funding. The Government is investing €95 million in the successful projects over the next three years.

UL is a partner on two more projects looking at reducing the cost of offshore wind and another to improve maritime security and position Ireland as a leader in the field of smart drones.

UL Vice President Research Professor Norelee Kennedy said: “The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is a key funding instrument to advance excellent innovative projects.

“UL’s involvement in three DTIF awards announced today in leading a consortium on battery technology as well as working with colleagues across Ireland in the energy, climate and sustainability area, demonstrates our commitment to undertaking excellent research that addresses global challenges.

“The awards also signal the partnerships approach to our research that is fundamentally important to realising the innovations needed for the challenges of the future. Congratulations to all involved,” Professor Kennedy added.