Frequently Asked Questions

Product

1. What is LAVOTM?

LAVOTM is an Australian technology and lifestyle company powered by hydrogen. We are commercialising the “first of its kind” hydrogen energy storage system set to integrate with solar energy systems to power homes and businesses.

The LAVO system is the next generation of green energy storage which acts as a ‘solar sponge’, integrating with rooftop solar to capture and store renewable energy for use when your household or business needs it. The LAVO system offers superior energy density, sustainability, longevity and lifetime cost savings in comparison to other available energy storage systems.

At LAVO, we are passionately committed to changing the way people live with energy.

2. When can I place my pre-order and when will I expect to receive my LAVO unit?

Pre-orders can be processed on our website from the 20th of November 2020, with fulfilment targeted on a rolling basis from June 2021.

Given the overwhelming interest to date from around the world and anticipated demand for our energy storage units, we encourage everyone to secure their place in the queue by placing a small deposit which is fully refundable in the unlikely event you change your mind or can’t wait any longer for a ‘game changing’ energy storage system that’s going to revolutionise the way people live with energy.

3. How much does it cost to purchase a LAVO unit and is there any financing I can receive to help with the cost of the unit?

Our Launch Edition 2021 is priced at A$34,750 for the first 2,500 units and will require a fully refundable deposit to secure your LAVO pre-order.   

The team is also working hard to make LAVO affordable for all Australians. To this end, we will also soon be launching a ‘0% interest payment plan’ and additional loan products to support the costs of Australians accessing LAVO and renewable power through approved green finance partners. Disclaimer: terms and conditions will apply.

4. I am interested in purchasing a LAVO unit, but I live outside of Australia. Am I able to purchase a LAVO unit?

Yes, we will be accepting pre-orders from customers from around the world. Our first LAVO energy storage systems will be available in Australia from mid-2021. In the second half of 2021 we will commence our international expansion and product roll-out.

To be provided with regular updates on our progress and other LAVO products and services, we ask you to please continue to check our website and subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed of the latest LAVO news, events and product development.

5. The LAVO Storage unit does not have the required power I need. Are there alternative products for individuals that use more/less energy?

At this stage, we currently have our first model of the LAVO™ unit which will only be available in 40kWh usable capacity – enough to power the average Aussie home for up to two days off the grid.

Our LAVO™ app will also give the user the ability to choose their setting to either:

  1. Maximising storage power, to help you live potentially up to 100% on your own renewable energy; or
  2. Optimising your electricity bill, by storing power when it’s cheapest and using stored power when access to the “grid” is  less cost-effective for the user.

You can also link up more than one unit at a time in parallel with the units acting as an intelligent Virtual Power Plant (VPP), aggregating the capacities for the purposes of enhancing power generation, as well as trading or selling power on the electricity market. This functionality will largely depend on your particular inverter selection.

Over time and subject to sufficient interest, LAVO may introduce additional configurations with either more or less storage capacity depending on particular customer needs.

6. Is it possible to run many LAVO units in parallel?

As above, yes, multiple LAVO units can be linked in parallel subject to your particular inverter.

7. How do I monitor or optimise the usage of the LAVO system?

As alluded to in question 5) above, LAVO has been designed with intelligent onboard control software that is AI enabled and connected to the cloud via your local wireless internet connection (where available). The system will learn your usage patterns and optimise your solar and LAVO storage system performance based on your unique needs…without you needing to lift a finger!

You will also be able to prioritise your usage requirements should you so wish. For example, if you prefer to export energy back to the grid to benefit from any solar feed-in tariffs available in your area to earn credits on your electricity bill or to store for later use, this can all be done with an intuitive and customisable app which fully interfaces with the LAVO unit and most mobile phone, tablet devices or laptop/desktop computers.

8. I would like to use the hydrogen hydride vessel system on a standalone basis or as part of my own product but not purchase the entire integrated LAVO system – can I do this?

Unfortunately, not. Our metal hydride is a core patented system developed in conjunction with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and forms part of the LAVO system which offers a unique value proposition that has been painstakingly developed as an integrated, standalone system. Moreover, we have developed the ‘smarts’ to seamlessly integrate our technology with other key components such as the electrolyser and fuel cell in a safe and efficient manner.

9. Does your product come with the solar array and inverter included or do you just sell the LAVO units?

LAVO has been designed to integrate with existing solar and leading inverter systems which would need to be installed if you do not have these already. If you are planning on installing a new solar system, we would encourage you to stay in touch so you can ensure you select a compatible inverter.

10. How does the LAVO hybrid system compare to more conventional energy storage systems when it comes to value for money?

To answer whether any system would be best value for a particular household or commercial use case is not a straightforward question to answer and would primarily depend on: a) where you live; b) your average daily consumption (kWh); c) your demand pattern over time; and d) your solar PV system size (kW) and orientation etc. If for example you have a large capacity and well installed solar system combined with high average daily consumption, particularly during low sun periods, the system would certainly make sense on a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) basis – essentially the net present cost of electricity generation over the life of the unit.

An independent analysis by leading engineering firm, GHD, has shown that for high energy use households (i.e. +25 kWh average daily consumption), the LAVO unit significantly reduces the cost of energy to below traditional battery estimates over its lifetime. In the above scenario, LAVO’s total ‘LCOE’ is well below the 25.4c/kWh LCOE of the leading 13.5 kWh capacity ‘battery only’ offering in the market. The main drivers here are energy density and longevity (not to mention sustainability!) which the LAVO hybrid system offers.

11. Can’t I just use my solar panels for my energy needs?

The main reason we can’t is that renewables like solar panels have problems with intermittency: During times of low sun or wind there is not enough power being produced to meet demand. But other times there is much more power generated than is required. Hydrogen provides a way to “smooth out” these peaks; it can be stored, and then released when there is a sudden cloud or the wind speed drops too low. Essentially hydrogen allows for continuous, reliable power that renewables alone cannot provide! Think of LAVO as your own personal ‘solar sponge’, absorbing all the unused energy that would otherwise be wasted or, if you are lucky, sold back to the electricity grid.

12. Can’t I just use standalone batteries to achieve the same purpose – why do I need a LAVO hydrogen system?

It is true that batteries serve much the same purpose as hydrogen storage, although there are a number of factors that make batteries a less effective storage medium compared to hydrogen. Hydrogen storage materials have a much greater energy storage capacity, which means that more energy can be stored in a smaller space compared to batteries and at a lower cost.

Battery lifespan is getting better (>10years) but still require a longer period of time to charge (a few hours) and have negative environmental impacts upon disposal. Hydrogen storage requires no maintenance and has a much longer life span (> 20 years). In addition to being environmentally friendly, the storage systems contain no toxic chemicals.

13. Does the LAVO system have a battery?

Yes, the LAVO system does have a small Li-ion battery (5kWh, for those you want to know). We believe both Li-ion and hydrogen technology complement each other beautifully. The small on-board battery acts a bit like the starter in your motor vehicle, helping to get the system up and going in the morning while providing any additional peak energy demands your household or business may need.  

14. My region does not have as much sunshine as Australia, I would like to have backup modules for longer term hydrogen storage when the sun is not shining – is this possible?

Subject to demand, additional backup storage modules may be made available for longer term hydrogen storage.

15. I am interested in regular updates and hearing of new products produced by LAVO?

To be provided with regular updates on other exciting new LAVO lifestyle products and services, we please ask you to continue to check our website and subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed of the latest LAVO news, events, and product development.

Delivery/Installation/Technical

1. How large is the LAVO unit?

The LAVO unit is approximately 1683 x 1253 x 400 mm and weighs approximately 560 kg[1]

2. How will the product be delivered and installed at my property?

We are working with some of Australia’s leading installers with announcements to follow over the coming months.

3. Where can the LAVO unit be installed and what preparation is required, if any?

The LAVO unit will be installed outdoors, beside the dwelling, in a location where minimal vehicle interaction is possible.

As the LAVO unit is producing hydrogen, all ventilation grilles must always be clear of obstructions. Therefore, vegetation within the clearance parameters, provided in the table below, must be removed as part of the area preparation activities.

 The LAVO unit will be positioned on a bespoke Mounting Plinth Assembly. On a soil-based ground, a reinforced concrete slab will be set in place prior placing and fixing the Mounting Plinth Assembly in place. On existing concrete or stone floor, the Mounting Plinth Assembly will be fixed directly onto the pre-existing floor.

4. What connections are required for the LAVO unit?

The LAVO unit requires water connectivity to facilitate the electrolysis process. Therefore, the unit will be connected to the mains water supply, or water pressure pump[2]. The incoming water stream is purified with the LAVO’s integrated water purifier.

The LAVO unit connects to a Hybrid Inverter[3] which links to dwelling’s photovoltaic systems, currently compatible with 6.5 kW systems, and the grid power.

LAVO owners will be able to monitor and control performance via the LAVO App which will require a Wi-Fi connection to function. The unit itself will have a hardwired connection and will be compatible with 4G, with a 3G fallback[4].

5. How much water does the LAVO unit use?

A full charge cycle (40 kWh) uses approximately 18L of water or a standard bucket size. Ongoing water consumption will depend on your usage needs.  

6. Do you have a copy of the technical specs, and dimensions of your product?

The specification of the LAVO unit can be found here. We must note that continued development of the LAVO product may cause changes to the specifications of the LAVO unit

7. What are hydride materials?

Hydride materials absorb hydrogen like a sponge and are able to store very large amounts of hydrogen in a small space within their structure where hydrogen can be stored as an atom (H),  or a hydride (H-), for example.  Sodium borohydride (chemical formula NaBH4) is an example of a hydride – it consists of hydrogen bound to the boron (B) in the form of an anion (BH4- ) stabilised by sodium (Na+). Sodium borohydride because of its high hydrogen content can be used for solid-state hydrogen storage.

LAVO’s patented hydrogen hydride technology distils industry leading hydride technology into superior commercially feasible applications:

8. How is hydrogen produced?

LAVO produces hydrogen by passing electricity through water. This process known as electrolysis which is a mature technology that can be easily implemented for small or large scale application.

9. Is Hydrogen energy safe?

Hydrogen is often incorrectly seen as an unsafe fuel; usually due to the 1937 Hindenburg disaster (it has since been proven that the fire was inconsistent to that of a hydrogen fire!). In fact, while hydrogen is flammable it is inherently no more dangerous than other conventional fuels such as gasoline or natural gas.

Hydrogen is also 14 times lighter than air, which means that even in the event of a leak it will rapidly diffuse into the air into a non-flammable. Even if there is a leak, hydrogen is non-toxic and non-poisonous, and does not contaminate groundwater or air. What makes our technology even safer than compressed hydrogen is that the hydrogen is locked in solid materials: This is a well-established technology, and it is so reliable that hydrogen storage materials (called hydrides) are used as fire or overheat detectors in aircrafts.

10. What is a fuel cell? How can Hydrogen be used as an energy source?

A fuel cell is a device that can react hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity from chemical energy. It can continuously provide electricity if there is a constant supply of hydrogen and oxygen.

Hydrogen can be burnt in a fuel cell to produce electricity, or in a combustion engine, just like petrol, to be transformed into energy to move a car or produce electricity and/or heat. It has the highest density of any fuel (3 times that of gasoline). It is used to send people into space, all while producing zero harmful emissions! Hydrogen energy can be used for transport, powering homes and businesses as well as portable electronics – it truly has potential to be used for all our energy needs and will change the way people live with energy…our very own company mission!

11. What is the LAVO system efficiency?

The LAVO system’s round-trip efficiency is above 50%. However the best way to think of LAVO is as your own personal ‘solar sponge’, absorbing often unused solar (or wind energy) that would otherwise be wasted or, if you are lucky, sold back to the electricity grid as credits on your electricity bill.

Safety/Warranties/Returns/Support

1. How safe is a LAVO unit?

The LAVO storage unit is undergoing extensive design, testing and certification processes to ensure it is 100% safe for use residential and commercial use. As outlined in question 6 above, the LAVO technology uses hydrogen at low pressure stored in a solid-state metal hydride which is a safe and efficient way to store and use hydrogen. Metal hydride is a proven technology – and we have enhanced and evolved its application, developing a technology that is safe and reliable for consumer use.

2. Does the LAVO unit come with a warranty?

We are currently developing a robust warranty and service program which will accompany any order fulfilment.

3. How often does the LAVO unit require maintenance?

An annual maintenance will likely be recommended by a qualified technician to undertake the general inspection and replacement of any consumables like filters, coolant levels and electrolyser fluids etc. which is dependent on environmental factors and usage patterns.

For the main components, the hydrogen vessel is projected to lose less than 5% charge over its 20k cycles which equates to around 30 years! The fuel cell and electrolyser are rated for >30 thousand hours of optimal performance which equates to about 10 years efficient operating life but many last longer than this and depends on a few factors like water quality for the electrolyser and the use of the fuel cell etc. The small on board battery should have a lifespan of between 10 and 15yrs depending on use case pattern.

4. Who do I contact if I have a problem with my LAVO unit?

The LAVO unit will have inbuilt self-monitoring capabilities and will notify your authorised installer (and you) of any potential issues – in many cases, even before an issue becomes a problem!

Commercial Agreements

1. How can I become a sales distributor, reseller or service partner for LAVO?

Thank you for your interest in potentially becoming a LAVO distributor/partner. Please contact sales@lavo.com.au for all business-related enquiries.

2. I have a complex project with significant bespoke engineering needs that will require engineering support and long term project planning, who do I speak to?

Please contact sales@lavo.com.au for all business-related enquiries. We have an in-house engineering consultancy team who would be more than happy to help.

3. I would like to make an investment in LAVO – how can I do this?

Please contact investment@lavo.com.au should you wish to partner with LAVO from an investment perspective.

4. How can I invest in LAVO?

LAVO is not currently listed on any public exchange at this stage with no plans to do so in the near future. We have however made some great progress with our first significant investment round raising “Series A” equity with strategic cornerstone investors. Should you wish to partner with us from an investment perspective, please reach out to investment@lavo.com.au


[1] Dimensions and mass have not been finalised. Mass is inclusive of metal hydride storage vessels and dryer assembly. DISCLAIMER we have taken reasonable care and precaution to ensure that the information   contained on this fact sheet is accurate, but we do not guarantee, nor do we accept any legal liability arising from or connected to the accuracy, reliability, currency or completeness of content of the LAVOTM System.

[2] Water supply is dependent on installation location

[3] LAVO has tested the Sungrow SH5K-20 Hybrid Inverter bundle. Compatibility with other Hybrid Inverters is being investigated.

[4] 2.4 GHz 802.11n WiFi2x2 MIMO