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GE Develops Durathon Batteries for Green Buses

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Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Steve Wilhelm

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Steve Wilhelm via Flickr

Molten salt batteries are one of the newer developed batteries that offered energy density upgrades to the standard batteries that we have been using. A good example of a molten salt battery in use today is the Na-NiCl2 battery.

In 2010, General Electric (GE) had developed their own version of the sodium battery, the Durathon battery.  Since then, it has been used for a wide variety of applications that are usually connected to zero-emission systems.

The latest update in their development of the battery was its current application as a tandem source of energy for zero-emission green buses. The new Durathon battery is optimized in order to be used efficiently on a bus, and it would be used tandem with a lithium battery and a hydrogen fuel cell. GE claims that such energy configuration could build performance levels that would provide the green bus its needed power and range like any ordinary bus.

The increased performance capability of the zero emission bus is directly attributed to the combination of the attributes of sodium and lithium battery. The Durathon battery provides the needed energy density, while the lithium battery provides the needed power.  Before, fuel cells were seen to be the next viable source of clean energy for larger vehicles like buses. Practical costs that circulate in a hydrogen fuel cell system proved to be uneconomical however, and the idea was arbitrarily abandoned. With the dual-battery system, it is now possible to push a bus to its regular performance levels economically, enabling the fuel cell to be shrunk to a size where it can be more affordable yet still practical enough to use.

Durathon batteries have been extensively used as of late as energy storage systems for various telecommunications installations and cell sites around the world. It has been used a backup energy source, as energy storage for green energy systems, and as auxiliary grid-connected power.

The short demonstration video by GE provided a brief explanation on how the Durathon batteries are used in perfect conjunction with the vehicle’s energy management system. Tim Richter, who was the GE engineer explaining in the video, also mentioned how such tandem energy sources could lower down the cost of such vehicles (presumably due to the increased service longevity of the batteries). If correctly implemented on a large scale, it could set the road for the installation of such zero-emission energy systems on many buses and other relatively large land transport vehicles around the world.

Christian Crisostomo
About Christian Crisostomo (266 Posts)

Christian Crisostomo is just your average tech geek that loves to see man's newest and most recent technological exploits. He holds great interest in the potentials of green technology, and is enthusiastic about the continuous development of environment-friendly alternative energy.


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