Fonterra trials organic battery in New Zealand
A new organic, low-cost, safe, sustainable and long-life battery being trialled by Fonterra could support greater energy security and distributed electricity generation for New Zealand.
PolyJoule, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spin-off, is partnering with Fonterra on the application of the battery made from electrically conductive polymers, an organic based compound with the ability to act like metal.
Late last year the world’s first industrial scale organic battery was installed on a Fonterra farm at Te Rapa. The battery was cycled daily, supporting dairy shed operations for 10 months.
The co-op is now moving this battery to its Waitoa UHT site, which can be impacted by power disturbances leading to downtime and waste.
Fonterra chief operating officer Fraser Whineray says as a significant electricity user at about 2.5% of the national grid, a sustainable and secure electricity supply is vital to the co-operative’s local sales and exports.
“At Fonterra we have a strategy to lead in sustainability, and innovation partnerships are a critical ingredient to achieving this.
“The PolyJoule battery has a remarkable discharge rate, which may ultimately link with ultra-fast charging of our fleet, including Milk-E our electric milk tanker.”
PolyJoule CEO Eli Paster says he’s excited to partner with Fonterra and sees great opportunity for growth in New Zealand both in terms of supporting energy security and job creation in the manufacturing and technology sectors.
“We both have sustainability front and centre of our strategy and understand the importance of a reliable, green supply of electricity for quickly chilling the raw milk on farm, processing and distribution. New Zealand is a world leader in protecting the environment. Fonterra is a world leader in nutrition. We couldn’t think of a better partner to work with.
“Since PolyJoule batteries do not rely on lithium, nickel, or lead, the materials are easier to source and the batteries are safer and easier to manufacture anywhere in the world, including New Zealand.
“When you look at where the grid is heading and the number of batteries needed for the region, building a manufacturing base in New Zealand could create hundreds of new jobs and a new green energy hub.”
The PolyJoule battery installation is the third decarbonisation project Fonterra’s Waitoa site has recently adopted. Last month it announced the site would install a new biomass boiler and it will also be home to Milk-E – New Zealand’s first electric milk tanker.