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CSIR’s Energy Storage Testbed to Strengthen SA Battery Industry

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South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a new indoor energy storage testbed in collaboration with the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) aimed at supporting the battery value chain while strengthening South Africa’s capabilities in renewable energy storage.  

The testbed allows the CSIR to test the performance and reliability of lithium-ore batteries, with the facility equipped with a high-precision system for battery module and pack tests.

The testbed will provide critical data for the energy storage industry, thereby strengthening overall capacity.

According to Renesh Thakoordeen, Energy Storage Testbed Project Leader at CSIR, “The facility will provide much-needed testing for the county. It will be used as a service for technology developers or importers who would like to characterize their technologies for market entry,” adding that, “It is a stepping-stone towards addressing the intermittency challenge of renewable energy. Many businesses and residential homeowners are turning to solar power and batteries to secure their energy supply. The testbed will assist in creating the standards for lithium-ore batteries in South Africa.”

The testbed will strengthen the country’s ability to support local players in the battery value chain by enabling access to the facility for small and medium enterprises, manufacturers and importers.

“A developing country such as South Africa has to think of technologies that offer long-duration storage, have lower operational and maintenance requirements and can withstand harsh climatic conditions,” commented Dr Thulani Dlamini, CEO of CSIR.

Adding to what Dr. Dlamini said, Carlo Mol, VITO Energy Technology Project Manager stated that, “The project funding enabled us to make investments in high-tech equipment for testing batteries in South Africa and build local capacity beyond this. It also gives CSIR and VITO the opportunity to share knowledge on sustainable energy storage solutions for the benefit of South Africa stakeholders.”

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Charné Hollands

Charné Hollands

Charné Hollands is the Deputy Editor at Energy Capital & Power. She holds a Higher Certificate in Professional Photography and Masters in Media Studies from the University of Cape Town. Charné writes content for ECP's website and events as well as co-authored African Energy Chamber: Road to Recovery.