Abu Dhabi now boasts the world’s largest storage battery — a 108 MW/648 MWh behemoth that is five times larger than the Hornsdale battery installed in Australia by Tesla a year ago. There is one other important difference between the battery in Australia and the one in Abu Dhabi. The Tesla unit used lithium-ion battery cells. The one in Abu Dhabi uses sodium sulfur battery cells.
Sodium sulfur technology was first explored by Ford as a possible source for electric trucks in the 1960s. But the sodium and the sulfur have to be heated to 300º Celsius to function properly, an issue for wheeled vehicles. Ford sold the technology to Japan’s NGK, which has continued to develop the technology in conjunction with Tokyo Electric Power ever since
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