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Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
new energy 102 research organisation CSIRO, the UltraBattery is an energy storage device that provides comparable performance with considerably less cost than current battery technologies used in hybrid-electric vehicles. It does this by combining a supercapacitor -- an electronic power source that can release large bursts of energy -- with a lead-acid battery in a single unit. As a result, it lasts four times longer and produces 50 percent more power than conventional lead-acid batteries. The technology is set to have a global impact, thanks to an international commercialisation agreement with Japanese manufacturer Furukawa. The UltraBattery will be produced in Japan, and through sub-licensing to US manufacturer East Penn, in Mexico, Canada and North America. The US Department of Energy has awarded US$32.5 million to East Penn to accelerate UltraBattery production for micro and mild hybrid applications. ORGANIC SOLAR CELLS Making solar panels may become as easy as printing banknotes because of a new technology developed by the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium. Utilising thin layers of light-sensitive links that absorb energy from the sun, solar cells are printed onto flexible plastic, which can be cut to fit any rooftop. CLEAN ALTERNATIVES power station. Australia is also pursuing geothermal energy -- known as hot rocks -- which produces energy by pumping water into hot spots several kilometres underground, where the natural warmth created by the decay of uranium, thorium and potassium isotopes heats the water. It is then pumped back to the surface, where the resulting steam is used to create electricity. Central Australia has vast, deep-seated granite systems with high temperatures at depth. Saddler believes geothermal energy has signi cant potential. "Australia has a very large and promising resource in hot rock and there are a lot of companies exploring for this, particularly in South Australia," he says. According to Ehmcke, small, widely distributed alternative energy projects could be more e cient than the large-scale generation currently used. "Coal- red power stations and the structure of the national grid -- with a number of very large industrial-grade generation facilities a ached to it -- could be more e cient," he says. " erefore we are looking at a lot more small, distributed and renewable forms of energy creation." Saddler points out that renewable energy has a nancial advantage over other energy technologies. "One of the a ractive things about renewable energy resources is that each individual installation is small -- they are a lot more modular -- so you can put much smaller increments of capacity into the system, which makes more sense nancially," he says. Motor vehicles produce signi cant carbon emissions and Australian companies are pursuing the development of the electric car. One of the global innovators in this space is Be er Place, a Silicon Valley-based company from California with research and development in Israel. Be er Place is commi ed to providing the recharging infrastructure to make the electric vehicle industry sustainable. It has an operation in Australia, where it is se ing up a charging network for electric vehicles. Starting in the Australian Capital Territory (where the national capital Canberra is located), Be er Place plans to be operational by 2012. e Australian investment community will play an increasingly large role in driving alternative energy solutions. Australia's leading shareholder engagement and investor relations rm, Radar, says its research has found that investors are looking for companies who are reducing their carbon emissions. Divisional director of investor relations, David Greer, says that institutional investors are becoming interested in whether companies are measuring their emissions and, if so, what their emissions are. He expects that in the future a company's level of emissions will be reported periodically in conjunction with earnings releases. Such a move would certainly focus the minds of Australia's business leaders. HARNESSING THE SUN Solar panels provide much of the power used by visitors to the Ayers Rock Resort at Uluru in the Northern Territory. Each installation is smaller, so you can put much smaller increments into the system, which makes more sense. Organic solar cells. Doojin Vak