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Has The Great Flow Battery Battle Started?

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posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 03:50 PM

[UniEnergy (US) and Rongke (China)] plans to install an 800MWh vanadium flow battery (VFB) — the world’s largest such system — … in northern China

Source: Rechargenews, June 1, 2016 - UniEnergy, Rongke to build world's biggest vanadium flow battery in China

There is little more to this article than what is posted! But egads! 800 Mega Watt Hours??!!! That is massive! The one in Massachusetts is only 500 KWh and that uses two 57,500 gallon tanks! Let’s do the maths together.

So, 500K = .5 M. And that uses 115,000 gallons of electrolytes. So double that is 230,000 gallons for 1 MWh. 230,000*800 = (8 *230),000,000 = (1840),000,000 = 1,840,000,000 gallons of electrolyte! For some reason that just seems ridiculous! Did I do my maths wrong? 1,840 million gallons. (poof, mind blown)

(I caught it. 184 million gallons only)

[ETA: My math above is off my a factor of ten. "800" became "8000" by factoring the two numbers sig digits]
edit on 1-6-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: bad math dude!

posted on Jun, 2 2016 @ 05:18 PM
Bad math aside, I did not even notice that the reason there was so little information at the above source is that it is subscription based (so they give a blurb but that is it). Found a better source with more info.

The battery arrays’ deployed will comprise up to 10, 20 MW/80 MWh VFB [vanadium flow battery] systems.
During extreme weather events the Dalian peninsula has experienced stress on its electricity grid. After full commissioning, the VFB batteries will be able to peak shave approximately 8% of Dalian's expected load in 2020. In addition, the batteries will form an additional load center, which will enhance grid stabilization including securing the power supply and providing black-start capabilities in the event of emergency.

Source: Utility Drive, June 2, 2016 - Flow battery developer to build 800 MWh battery system in China

The article says there will be a ceremony, June 7, in Beijing for the deal. They plan to load balance so surrounding nodes will not get hit with wild fluctuations should this site go dark. I think more and more utility operators are going to do the same in the coming years. It just makes sense to approach power distribution this way (VFB's to peak balance and add overall stability).

posted on Jun, 9 2016 @ 05:41 PM

Hmm 100% discharge usually means less than 100% recharge... of course thats under the asumption it can charge 100% to begin with... the glassmat sort that was the last gen of those lead acid types if it wasnt charged before use it would be stuck at that ceiling or percentage when first used on recharge... basically why that tec was hit or miss.

Ive a Li Po on a motorcycle that thing is the most amazing battery ive come across... as the cold cranking amperage goes up te more draw thats placed on it. Thats a real head slapper compared to the old lead acid in a very cold winter in a headlights always powered on situation going yay lights are more important than starting as those beams drain the thing going unnnngh if only you could disable the lights instead of key in them things are on...

But my Li Po was used for close to a year no charge at all other than usage then sat for over a year outside in the elements no charger... old gas and everything less than 30 seconds and 4 pushes it fired over and the battery cranked as strong as it ever did.

Being less than a lb at that... I doubt Ill ever touch another lead type or glassmat sort of battery, they run about third to half price added higher than the regular name brand sort but imho well worth it... as my chop ate two 65 dollar glass mats in less than 1 season and having to nanny them with a charger.

edit on 9-6-2016 by BigBrotherDarkness because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 9 2016 @ 06:13 PM
a reply to: BigBrotherDarkness

That is the nice thing about having the electrolyte on the outside of the battery. If the chargeability starts to decline, fresh, new, electrolyte can be swapped into the system. If the old, used, electrolyte needs a bump up to top it off again then it gets one and will be cycled back in line to be used again.

The current cycling (charge-discharge) is over 3,000 with battery then just reaching 87% efficiency and a flow battery system like the one in China will last 20 years before the electrolytes needs to be swapped out. That is pretty impressive!

Apple has an "air" flow battery patent which uses oxygen and (spaced what chemicals-metals) that reacts with the oxygen providing electricity for the device while on battery power. It charges when plugged in.

posted on Jun, 9 2016 @ 07:06 PM
hmm sounds like a neat process... of course the fluid exchange mechanism should be rock solid as when I do engineering design it isnt so much any laws etc when brainstorming concepts its the more complicated a design the more parts that can wearout or need servicing.

We can see how major numbers of recall in automotives have been hitting that industry lately... used to be 4 people could hang out under a hood of an inline 8 with it closed... now you have to take 6 things off to service one thing. Of course part of that was to make money at the service industry. One auto manu was going to void an Exs waranty if anyone aside from the dealership changed the oil... I was like what? Thats rediculous... she said hey Ive been paying the waranty might as well, went with her to service it and they charged 25 bucks labor for new wipers and actually put the oil 5 over what the weight called for in the middle of summer of course wen the weight is better thinner... good thing she had that waranty eh. When they are making sure you come back...

But with the battery flowing the needed electrolytes in or out Id hope tat watever system doing that was as least complex yet as solid as possible such not only keeps down production costs but obviously jumps the reliability much higher... which means repeat customers. Loyal to a brand always made me scratch my head... my blank broke down 5 times last year and cost blank but family tradition were blank people ya know... and im thinking well blank is crap and I suppose getting bent over is sort of tradition too?

I dunno PT Barnum was perhaps a genious when it comes to public consumption of goods and services... if youve ever read any of his books.

posted on Jun, 13 2016 @ 03:55 PM
There's an app for that!

Co-founded and directed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientist Kristin Persson, the Materials Project uses supercomputers to calculate the properties of materials based on first-principles quantum-mechanical frameworks
While other research groups have made their data publicly available, what makes the Materials Project so useful are the online tools to search all that data. The recent release includes two new web apps—the Molecules Explorer and the Redox Flow Battery Dashboard—plus an add-on to the Battery Explorer web app enabling researchers to work with other ions in addition to lithium.
The researchers were able to double the energy capacity of what had previously been achieved for this kind of multivalent battery. The study has been published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science in an article titled, "A High Capacity Thiospinel Cathode for Mg Batteries."

Source:, June 8, 2016 - Massive trove of battery and molecule data released to public

So Berkley Lab received a grant to research various materials in various battery types. And they have gifted their research and tools back to the public! How cool is that? So the part above saying the researchers doubled the energy storage is from an MIT researchers using this data provided by Berkley Labs! This is what true science is about--sharing and collaboration. Hats off to Kristin Persson! What a terribly human thing to do and with all the news about violence... what is actually needed!

posted on Jun, 13 2016 @ 05:28 PM

That Zap and go charger claims to fully charge in 5 minutes! That's very impressive, but then it says "it will still take the same time for your device to charge, as normal, we are working on that though"
So I take it the zap device charges your device on the move, so all they need to do is essentially replace the existing device's battery tech with their own, and it's problem solved really...

edit on 13-6-2016 by surfer_soul because: typo

posted on Jun, 13 2016 @ 05:46 PM
a reply to: surfer_soul

That is how I read it too. One day, there will be an updated battery that works with their charger. Just the five minute charger will be a godsend! Plug it in, hop in the shower, on the way out the door grab it and your off to the races.

That will probably be graphene's "killer app" as everybody has a device that needs charging. Meanwhile, (*taps toe with crossed arms*)

posted on Jun, 13 2016 @ 06:37 PM
a reply to: BigBrotherDarkness

The pumps do have to be engineered up a bit because some electrolytes are quiet viscous. You have the issue of materials being thick enough to carry electricity and still be circulated by pumps. That is why the Berkley Labs providing their data and tools is such a cool story! You do not have to reinvent the wheel or guess at what electrolytes will work. Here, there are 1,200 different combinations for you!

The MIT flow battery does not even have moving parts! It looks like a window pane. The entire device sits at an angle. When the electrolyte flows from the top to the bottom and there is no more up top, then the whole device is flipped upside down. No pumps required!

The is something gratifying sitting in a car engine taking off the starter! Had an old pickup that I could do that with. My buddy's car... I think you need an engine lift to just get the oil plug out! Who came up with that idea?

posted on Jun, 16 2016 @ 03:59 PM
Why is it that most of the news TEOT is interested in ends up being found in investment announcements? Hum.

[Australia Vanadium, AVL] has purchased a vanadium electrolyte pilot plant from leading UK technology company C-Tech Innovation Ltd (C-Tech).

The pilot plant is the first of its kind in Australia and will test and verify vanadium materials for use in vanadium redox flow batteries.
Raw materials such as vanadium require processing in order to prepare them for battery use. This relationship with C-Tech, leveraging its existing technologies and exciting new ideas, provides AVL with further opportunities to grow.

Source: ProactiveInvestors Australia (.au), June 7, 2016 - Australian Vanadium Ltd buys Australia-first vanadium electrolyte pilot plant

So they purchased a "pilot" plant. It is like a brewery have the large mash tun for large quantities (regular) and a smaller, mash tun to test out different recipes. This is a perfect example of vertical integration where a company will have the ability to take delivery of raw material, process it for application, deliver for assembly, and sell said product. In this case, vanadium redox flow batteries. This is a very big step.

Well, it appears one country has got its act together! There was a news update late last month that American Vanadium (AVCVF) let their letter of intent to purchase GLIDEMEISTER expire (Yahoo News). So for the Aussies for getting it done...

edit on 16-6-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: tori spelling

posted on Jun, 21 2016 @ 04:56 PM

I could create a thread about this BUT....
it is appropriate to consider: TESLA to buy SOLARCITY as an extension of your 'Battery thread'...

the way I see this development--->
Is that TESLA wants to build out a matrix of 5,000 re-charge facilities for his TESLA Vehicles, over the USA landscape, with SOLARCITY technology which TESLA outright buys up in a stroke of Genius

Solar power recharge stations (as ubiquitious as the Present Day's gas stations) is the only answer (to TESLA)

TESLA envisions 5 thousand energy re-charge facilities, no more than 100 miles apart -> as energy Oasis' for the 10's of Millions of TESLA Vehicles he 'sees' replacing gasoline/natural-gas powered vehicles in all-of-N. America

It's not about cornering the renewable energy sector
It's all about TESLA being the mobility provider for the World.....


... You heard it here first... remember this as time-goes-by

edit on st30146654647321012016 by St Udio because: (no reason given)

edit on st30146654671521052016 by St Udio because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 21 2016 @ 05:10 PM
a reply to: St Udio

Thank you sir for the consideration (on tagging the news on here)!

Elon Musk proposed combining his electric-car and solar-energy companies, in a bold effort to consolidate his holdings and offer widespread clean-energy products from vehicles to power in homes.

Tesla Motors Inc., Mr. Musk’s Palo Alto, Calif., electric-car company, on Tuesday offered to acquire SolarCity Corp. in a stock deal valuing it at up to $2.8 billion. Mr. Musk is the chairman and largest shareholder of both companies.

Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2016 Tesla Offers to Acquire SolarCity

Yes indeed. Looks like he wants to be the Cal Worthington of clean energy. And he should be scared sh1#ss right now. There is an Australian company that has figured out how to mass produce production quantity graphene and has a patent on aluminum doped graphene battery that will out last, and charge quicker, anything Tesla is currently doing. ATS link: GRAPHENE mega thread. The Al-graphene battery cost less than what he is offering too.

posted on Jun, 21 2016 @ 06:17 PM

Redflow’s new ZCell home battery, launched in March [2016], is a 10 kilowatt hour (kWh) flow battery that can ‘timeshift’ solar power from day to night, store off-peak power for peak demand periods and support off-grid systems. Redflow and Redback have been able to fully integrate the ZCell battery with Redback’s Smart Hybrid Solar Inverter System, which manages energy supplies from the grid, PV solar panels and a battery. ZCell with the Redback inverter will enable household and commercial users to achieve greater savings by self-consuming more of their on-site generated power.
Australia is transitioning to lower emission energy systems, with one in five homes around the country equipped with solar. Due to the popularity of home solar systems over recent years, the government plans to minimise the subsidies to solar bonus schemes, with the NSW scheme ending on 31st December 2016.

Source: PV Magazine, June 21,2016 - Redflow works with Redback technology to bring smarter solar to Australia

Australia has set a goal and the government subsidies end this year (at least in NSW). The article states that many Aussies have solar (photo-voltaic, PV) panels so having a device that can switch between grid, PV, and do load balancing while storing what ever source is providing electricity is great news for Australia!

I think Mr. Musk is seeing this happen Down Under and seeing what else the Aussies are doing and is getting antsy. He wants to be the same for America: the iPhone dealer, the Verizon provider, the repair shop for all items "clean energy" which is why he did his move today. He's too late to the party! The news on this thread already shows that. There are facilities being constructed for use not just proof of concept --on both coasts for grid level storage. While home use and vehicles are nice (some will embrace and be early adaptors of the tech) it is like what happens with computers--a new better one comes along and the mob turns away from the "old, ugly" tech to the "shiny, new". If you do purchase Tesla storage, I bet in a few years you will buy the replacement "shiny, new" batteries. Or, if you are savvy, you sit back and wait a generation and find out which one is the better.

Or you do what the Aussies have done, roll up your sleeves, do the hard work (not waiting for somebody else), and show the world how to reduce emissions while going green.

Australia for your hard work...

edit on 21-6-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: grammar nazi

edit on 21-6-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: grammar nazi

posted on Jun, 22 2016 @ 06:32 PM

At the end of the day, the Powerwall has the same li-ion battery cells in it as any other li-ion-based storage product: Asian-sourced batteries that are arranged in packs,” says Jay Whitacre, a professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University and the founder of Aquion Energy, which makes batteries for residential use. “It's basically off-the-shelf cell technology.”

Source: MIT Technology Review, June 22, 2016 - Tesla-SolarCity Success Depends on Battery Technology That Doesn’t Yet Exist (Beware! You get 5 or 6 free views of MIT Tech Review a month total)

Well, that says a lot about the Powerwall now doesn't it? The other thing stacked against Tesla is that there are more non-electric cars out there than there are electric. While I laud Musk's ideal vision of 'micro-grids' and solar usage (and by extension his electric cars) it is just that, an ideal.

Just now they are combing graphene and li-ion technology on the lab bench! I agree with MIT-TR, the technology for his batteries does not exist yet. Here is where one can read about li-ion/graphene news: i4u News, June 20, 2016 - KAIST Researchers Develop Graphene Battery.

South Korea is ramping up their entire graphene effort. Should they figure out how to produce market ready batteries he (Musk) will be screwed and lining up just like everybody else. And he will still be late to the game. Still relying upon Asian batteries he repackages as his own. Meanwhile, others will be making replacement batteries for his car and the PowerWall that last longer, less heavy, charge quicker, and are cheaper than what he will be charging.

Over at BBC there is this story: Tesla bid for SolarCity 'shameful'. Which is an op ed about the deal and the effects on both companies. Not very flattering either.

So it is not just my personal feelings! There are technological and business issues plaguing Mr. Musk and his dreams of being the one-stop shop for clean energy storage. Just like there are different types of engines out there in use there will be multiple storage solutions not just Tesla's vision.

posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 04:29 PM

Gildemeister's offer achieved the highest number of points in the price and quality categories. The two CellCubes used in the project are based on vanadium redox flow technology and have a rated output of 400 kW and a capacity of 1,120 kWh.
The system is scheduled to be put into operation in July 2016, and final approval is expected for September this year.

Source: SunWindEnergy, June 24, 2016 - Gildemeister wins tender for flow storage system

The article says that several redox flow batteries were reviewed and considered. In a process that went on for 1.5 years (!!) the winner was Glidemeister. This is for integrating renewables onto the grid (pilot test) by Terna SpA (Europe). First they are going prove viability and costs by demonstrating not only can it be done but should be done.

Great first step! Good win Glidemeister!
edit on 27-6-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: tori spelling

posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 06:12 PM
Of course, for cars you could always standardize the battery shape and rather than taking the time to recharge it you can just develop a system where you drive over a mechanical device, it pops out the old battery and puts a new charged one in. Take about 30 seconds, and away you go. Like swapping out a propane tank for your barbecue.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 12:58 PM
a reply to: Blue Shift

These guys think different. You have a tank of electrolytes that when used up you just refill like a regular gas tank. The resulting chems are vented to the atmosphere because they are non-toxic.

In contrast to lead batteries or lithium-ion batteries, redox flow batteries store energy in liquid electrolytes. The electrolyte liquids for flow cells are usually metal salts in an aqueous solution that flow in two fully independent circuits. A special membrane positioned between them divides the cell into two half cells. The membrane prevents the two electrolyte liquids from mixing, but permits the exchange of ions. The electrolyte liquids in the two half cells are now pumped past the membrane, where the actual chemical reaction takes place in the form of reduction or oxidation, and energy is released.

Charging the nanoFlowcell® is not the same as for a regular flow battery through feeding it with energy, but through topping up the spent liquid electrolytes. In the nanoFlowcell® used in the QUANT models, the electrolyte tanks empty while driving and the spent electrolyte liquid is dispersed harmlessly into the atmosphere. Filling the tank of a QUANT model and the refuelling process itself is similar to that for a regular petrol or diesel vehicle.

Another aspect relevant to the environment is that nanoFlowcell® does not require rare and comparatively expensive substances - unlike conventional redox flow batteries. In contrast to conventional energy carriers such as petrol, diesel, hydrogen or lithium-ion batteries, the electrolyte liquids in the nanoFlowcell® are neither flammable nor explosive and are completely harmless to health.

Source:, press release, 6/21/16 - The “Redox” Principle.

You might have to click "close window" to read the press release. It is part press release and part education so they do a pretty good job of explaining the reduction-oxidation ("redox") and how their product is utilized. Over at the nanoFlow website they have a car for sale using the nanoFlow batteries (Quant E). 0-60 in 2.8 seconds!

In the first prototype of the QUANT model range, the QUANT E, the exceptionally powerful and compact nanoFlowcell® helped the sports saloon achieve acceleration of zero to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, a top speed of 380 km/h and a range of 600 kilometres [~375 miles]. In the current QUANT FE and QUANTiNO models, the range figures are considerably higher.
(same source)

You do not swap out the battery you just refill the electrolytes.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 02:10 PM
I suspect potassium-ion batteries will be the next lithium killer, with slightly lower power density to LIFEPO4, but at half the cost, with reports of it maintaining 83% of its capacity after 40,000 cycles, would allow it to last a lifetime for most applications.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 03:07 PM
a reply to: glend

I am leaning towards a graphene addition to current battery tech to give a boost that will be "the next big thing". I think the aluminum-graphene-oxygen battery to be the real li-ion killer. It is smaller, lighter, takes more charges, and charges faster than li-ion. I read somewhere of a 6-12 month R&D and prototype timeline for it--so it will not be this year.

On the Graphene Mega thread I posted an update about airships being made. But the real news was that one was going to be powered by graphene ultra-capacitors developed by Lockheed Martin. The craft's projected usage date is 2020. So, between now and then there is going to be massive changes in battery tech both at the power grid level, and at the personal device level.

posted on Jul, 5 2016 @ 07:58 PM

I agree battery technology is improving fast. Could allow EV's to economically challenge combustion engines in the not too distant future. But worlds power grids need double their output to charge EV's and that might take a decade to two in itself.

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