In cooperation with innovative start-ups, EDF designs and develops higher-performance storage systems to help with the incorporation of renewable energies into electrical systems, the increase in self-consumption and new modes of transport.
Metal Air (O2) batteries
Metal-air rechargeable batteries - a world first - use the oxygen in the air to produce electricity. Their performance level is equivalent to Lithium-ion batteries, they cost 5 times less, remove all risks of fire, use no products that are toxic or harmful to the environment and they are completely recyclable.
In 2015, several automobile manufacturers unveiled the first vehicles using hydrogen batteries. This system converts hydrogen into electricity directly and continuously by means of electrochemical reactions. The battery continues to operate as long as it is supplied with reagents (hydrogen and oxygen from the air). The main benefit of this technology is range: in tests, vehicles could fill up in three minutes, then drive up to 600 km.
In order to counter the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources, hydrogen could be the ideal solution to stock excess production from wind farms and photovoltaic power plants. This technology could also provide a long-term solution for mobility. EDF has already taken action on this topic, in particular with its investment in Sunfire, a German start-up specialising in technologies related to fuel cell and the production of hydrogen by electrolysis of water, made via its innovation fund Electranova Capital.
This breakthrough technology is suitable for both the renewable energy storage market - to supply hydrogen to service stations for fuel cell vehicles - and Power-to-Gas natural gas networks.
Navya is an all-electric driverless shuttle that moves thanks to an embedded system and multiple sensors. Designed for urban transport, primarily for secure sites and for the first/last mile of a trip, it can safely carry up to twenty passengers. It is currently being tested at the Civaux EDF power plant.