Innovative projects of Elon Musk in the field of energy – The Hornsdale Power Reserve and Autobidder

 

Probably all of you have heard about Elon Musk and his revolutionary ideas as well as projects in the field of automobile, energy, airspace, artificial intelligence etc. Elon Musk’s activity is mainly directed to the achievement of energy transition through production of Tesla electric vehicles, energy batteries, solar panels etc. According to Elon Musk, Tesla electric vehicles which are considered to be luxury sports cars, will be affordable for everyone in future.

In the present article, you will find information about two projects that were realized in energetic sector, namely the Hornsdale Power Reserve which is the world’s largest lithium-ion battery farm and Autobidder which is a platform for energy trading.

After a strong storm occurred in South Australia in 2016, the electricity transmission infrastructure was wrecked. In order to prevent the blackout, the government decided to take measures. The Hornsdale Power Reserve which was built in South Australia in just 100 days, actually resulted from the bet between Elon Musk and Mike Cannon-Brookes on Twitter. Elon Musk wagered to build the battery farm in 100 days from the conclusion of a contract, otherwise it would be for free. The project was so successful, that the government expanded by 50 percent. The power farm is composed of Tesla Powerpacks which are made of lithium-ion cells. The Powerpacks are supposed to store the energy that comes from solar and wind farms.

On the other hand, there are several serious problems related to lithium-ion batteries. Firstly, the lithium batteries that are contained in smartphones, laptops and electric cars, unfortunately, are not recycled. Secondly, toxic substance that results from the lithium mining leaks to rivers and leads to the death of hundreds of fish, causing harm to the biodiversity. Moreover, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina are among the countries with rich reserves of lithium. In Chile’s Salar de Atacama, mining activities consumed 65 per cent of the region’s water. With regard to the recycling, Tesla has announced that it is working on the battery recycling system and is going to purchase the batteries and to recycle them in future.

The other project that I will talk about is Autobidder.  “Autobidder provides independent power producers, utilities and capital partners the ability to autonomously monetize battery assets.” It is obvious that, when the energy is not used, it is lost. So, in order to prevent this problem which is specific to renewables, Autobidder comes to force. Autobidder is a tool which allows the consumers to sell his excess left energy to the grid. To illustrate, Autobidder is operating in the Hornsdale Power Reserve.

Actually, it seems that Tesla Inc. plans to be a giant energy regulator very soon. In particular, just two weeks ago, Tesla has obtained an electricity generation license in UK.

To conclude, many innovative and green projects realized by Elon Musk  continue contribute to the energy transition for which the countries are striving. Nevertheless, companies should take into account and cope with the  environmental impacts and challenges.

Sources: 

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/lithium-batteries-environment-impact

https://www.tesmanian.com/blogs/tesmanian-blog/tesla-granted-electricity-generation-licence-in-uk-for-its-energy-business

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a31435906/how-elon-musk-battery-farm-works/

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