The Australian National University (ANU) has partnered with Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government to establish an international research program to improve ways to store renewable energy and integrate into the electricity grid.

Under the partnership, the ANU and ACT government will jointly invest $8m for a new battery storage and integration research program over the next five years.

ACT government has contributed up to $5m for the program, which focuses on integration of battery material technology with electricity network storage.

ANU vice-chancellor professor Brian Schmidt said: "The funding will enable the ANU Energy Change Institute (ECI), which will coordinate the research program, to build a critical mass of research in the area and focus on commercialization of new technologies.

"We'll now begin a worldwide search for a team leader in battery storage and integration to spearhead the research program."

The ECI is supported with more than $100m in infrastructure and facilities.

Additionally, the university will contribute $3m, including $2m for new laboratory infrastructure, to support battery storage and integration research.

Schmidt added: "The ANU Energy Change Institute will engage with the emerging renewable energy sector in the ACT and will develop international renewable energy partnerships.”

ANU Energy Change Institute director professor Ken Baldwin said that the new ANU Battery Storage and Integration Research Program will facilitate the transition to a broader low-carbon electricity system by feeding into existing energy research at ANU and in the ACT.

Baldwin said: "As the proportion of renewables in the grid grows, battery storage and its integration are becoming increasingly important to address intermittency in renewable energy supply.”

Image: ANU will establish a research program to improve ways to store renewable energy for integration into the electricity grid. Photo: courtesy of Stuart Hay, ANU.