The Freedom Lite energy storage battery is a compact integrated energy storage source. The capacities of the Freedom Won range of wall units are measured in kilowatt hours and range from 5 kWh to 80 kWh 85%, of which has a ten-year warranty.
“Early discussions have been held for exporting to the Philippines, Pakistan and the US, while the company has also serviced the Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe markets to date,” says Freedom Won cofounder Lizette Kriel.
The company has established a reseller and installation partnership network across Southern Africa in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and one is in progress for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Nigeria.
In addition to aiming to sell about 350 batteries this year, Freedom Won has chartered a growth plan, with a substantial growth rate of more than a 100% a year for the next three years.
Freedom Won cofounder Antony English expects the company to produce about 1 000 batteries next year, depending on African market access and financial partner support.
While a single production line currently caters for all the Freedom Lite range models, key objectives for this year are expanding the com- pany's assembly lines and production capabilities to produce 100 units a month and dedicating certain production lines to popular models.
Freedom Won further aims to more than double the production target next year.
Lite Battery Offering
The company first launched its Freedom Lite LiFePO4 battery range, which can be applied in customised, hybrid and off-grid solutions such as mobile power solutions and energy backup systems, in April 2015.
These batteries can also be used during load-shedding and power outages and can be incorporated into solar energy projects for large-scale commercial installations.
The Lite batteries further require no cooling solutions, can operate in temperatures of between –20 °C and 60 °C and can produce high output power.
Compared with conventional lead-acid batteries, key features of the range include long-term robustness, chemical and thermal stability, a higher energy density and an up to 95% ‘round trip’ energy efficiency, lower operating life-cycle costs, no maintenance, a space and weight saving of more than 100% and a sophisticated battery management system, English highlights.
While the batteries are expensive, compared with the price of lead-acid batteries, English says, this is offset threefold by their longevity and reliability.
The Lite range is available in energy capacities of up to 80 kWh, while larger batteries can be custom-designed and are scalable for each project. Design proposals have included power output of up to 5 MWh, with several proposals at an advanced stage, including projects for 1.3 MWh and 500 kWh battery systems in Zimbabwe.
The company’s LiFePO4 solutions have also been incorporated into a modular renewable-energy solution, the PowerTurtle, launched at Pheasant Folly Primary School, in Palmridge, Gauteng, in February.
Another focus is to develop a low-cost, long-life lithium ion solution for rural communities. English explains that this is to enable a longer-term and thus more affordable revenue model, where external funding through partners is recouped from the customer through a prepaid system accessible through a cellphone over a three-year period.
In addition to providing energy storage solutions for the residential, commercial, small and medium- sized enterprise sectors, including the industrial and mining sectors, Freedom Won provides electric mobility solutions for vehicles and boats, particularly those used in the ecotourism sectors.
The 4 × 4 EV conversions are available as 42 kWh units and a 16A household-type or 32A welding-type plug can be used to charge them.
The Freedom Lite wall unit batteries incorporate the same technology as used in Freedom Won’s first prototype electric vehicle battery solution, commissioned in 2011. The prototype conversion has been trialled in a 4 × 4 vehicle and has driven 75 000 km to date on the original battery pack, with less than 5% capacity degradation. “This proves the LiFePO4 technology can exceed expectations,” Kriel concludes.
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