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Has The Great Flow Battery Battle Started?

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posted on Oct, 10 2016 @ 01:51 PM
UPDATE. Re: Mass.' Energy Storage Initiative

In August, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill that could make the state one of only three in the nation to have an energy storage mandate.
If adopted, the report says Massachusetts has the potential for 600 MW of energy storage by 2025. The state now has about 2 MW of energy storage on its grid.

Source: UtilityDrive, Sept. 19, 2016 - Massachusetts state report recommends 600 MW energy storage target.

The article says that 600 MW is lower amount that a paid for study (almost by a third). So, along with grant money from earlier this year, Mass' flow battery effort is still moving forward. The state is serious by also passing the bill (10 million). The target date and amount is only mentioned as "load balancing and shaving" of current production methods. But the study say the state can save money by shifting production around (the figure 2.3 billion is cited of "aggregate" savings (same source)), so this effort will demonstrate how energy planning should be done.

Maybe the Simpson were right to move there! (Last week's episode the Simpson moved to Boston, hehehe)

posted on Oct, 20 2016 @ 12:21 PM

The Nobles had two Redflow 10KWh ZCell batteries installed at their property before South Australia's epic statewide blackout on 28 September, and sailed through on stored solar power.

"I want batteries that are tough," Noble tells The Australian Financial Review. "Why would I want to waste money firing up a gen set when I am not there?"
Only one corner of the property has grid power, and the cost of wiring the entire property would vastly exceed the cost of the two battery sets - about $40,000.

Source: Australia Financial Review, Oct. 18, 2016 - Top Google engineer gives Redflow novel flow batteries a tick of approval.

Australia's first residential customer's review. The photos at the article show the batteries in their enclosure--about the size of a small filing cabinet. Since his farm is remote he wanted to ensure he had power. In the article he states that it gets hot out there so the batteries needed to be able to handle the heat and being charged. He knew that Li ion would not cut it (i.e., Tesla's Power Wall unit) as they could catch fire. He said a diesel generator is not practical during fire season. So he decided on the zinc bromide flow batteries from Redflow.

Sounds like he is happy with his purchase! It is nice to see a real world installation!

posted on Oct, 21 2016 @ 05:39 PM

The element vanadium, often mined from magnetite in South Africa, Russia, and China, costs $3500 or more per kilogram at high-purity concentrations of 99.9 percent.

ARPA-E-funded flow battery research projects have tried to drop the cost by cutting out the vanadium altogether. For instance, a version produced by Energy Storage Systems uses iron chloride chemistry instead—which, as Rohlfing says, is “rust cheap.”

Another variant, now being investigated by a team at Harvard, relies on nature for its electrolyte. The group is now zeroing in on an organic compound called a quinone that’s very similar to a chemical found in rhubarb.

IEEE Spectrum, Oct. 21, 2016 - Arpa-E's $85-Million Plan to Build a Battery the Size of the Grid.

Well the article is pretty much stating that flow battery technology is "immature" and they are keen on kinetic devices (rocks on rails! Sheesh. *rolls eyes*). I think they should take a look at Australia and how they are coming along. The ZWall must be really expensive because of vanadium... oh wait, that one uses zinc bromide and are already being installed (saw another news announcement for a factory getting one--resisted the urge to post it though). And if the author knew anything about Harvard's inorganic flow battery he would have known that it was announced a couple of years ago! And vanadium is being mined in Canada in addition to Australia. There is a deposit in California as well. And they do not need 99.9% pure... sigh.

Anyway, the Arpa-E research is across the board. Some of the money and research will be on redox flow batteries. I think they should really take a look at graphene and graphene aerogel very closely. Both will be used as part of the membrane of the future. Electrolytes are one thing (hey, I triple E guy, did you see the research on electrolytes being shared? Well, at least he got quinone right) but the magic sauce will be found in the extraction from the charged electrolytes across a souped up membrane.

GAH! The I triple E guy did not even mention Argonne Labs at all!! (OK, I think that is the last of it!)

posted on Oct, 27 2016 @ 01:17 PM

Lockheed Martin has installed its GridStar lithium energy storage system at the company’s Syracuse, N.Y., facility, tapping ENGIE's energy storage operating software for management, Electric Light & Power reports.
Lockheed Martin's GridStar system consists of modular, scalable energy storage units that contain batteries, local-controls software and all required balance-of-system components. Lockheed Martin said each unit can be configured to provide up to 375 kW of power and up to 600 kWh of energy storage.
Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin expanded its interests to include energy storage, including both lithium ion and flow battery technology., Oct. 25, 2016 - Lockheed Martin installs 1 MW battery at New York facility.

Well, if it is good enough for Lockheed...

First step is to have a unit to demonstrate what a battery system is capable of. Now they can show off the lithium ion battery while touting the "new" flow battery technology. And their NY facility benefits from it before winter sets in! The fact that they include software controlled units should not be overlooked. As the grid becomes more intertwined with storage systems they become "smarter" as in energy distribution becomes more efficient.

Although it is Li-ion, the road to grid-level flow batteries has been started. Welcome to the future!

posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 03:55 PM

Australian Vanadium Ltd (AVL)... is expecting the arrival of its vanadium electrolyte pilot plant to the Perth within 10 days.

From the article:

The company aims to develop both stand-alone and mine-attached vanadium electrolyte capacity to support the growing demand in the vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) sector.

The company’s strategy is to deliver vanadium products such as batteries to end users and supply and process raw materials sourced from Gabanintha vanadium project in Western Australia.

AVL recently sold and installed its first vanadium redox flow battery storage system. (.au), Oct. 25, 2016 - Austra lian Vanadium prepares for electrolyte processing pilot plant.

Another company doing the vertical market thing. Good for them! The pilot plant will go a long way towards making them even more competitive in the global sense. The ability to sell to other companies is the first step of setting up franchises. Salesman, "And this model here has vanadium! All the way from Australia!" or, "That's not vanadium! Now THIS is vanadium"

Nice to see forward progress!
edit on 1-11-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: grammar nazi

posted on Nov, 11 2016 @ 02:09 PM

Vanadiumcorp Resource Inc... is pleased to announce the Canadian Government has officially introduced a new mandate for vanadium and energy storage, titled, "Defining Canada's role in a growing vanadium market." This mandate bodes well for VanadiumCorp development of high purity vanadium and vanadium electrolyte (VE) from 100% owned vanadium resources in Quebec, Canada. There is no primary VE production in Canada and USA currently. Canadian vanadium supply would facilitate the renewable energy and grid scale energy storage targets ratified in the Paris Climate Agreement. The Canadian government announcement states: "Currently, there are few vanadium producers able to produce high purity Vanadium Oxide "V(2)O(5)" and products show significant differences in purity and trace element level", Nov 8, 2016 - Canadian Government Announcement: "Defining role in growing vanadium market".

Again, from a market watch PR...

Go Canada! This is great news for North America in general. Vanadium pent-oxide is the main form used in creating the electrolyte for this type of flow battery. Vanadium redox flow batteries (seen it both as VRB and VRFB) are well studied and there are instances of their use out there in the real world. And it is another example of a vertical market move with respects to vanadium (Australia's is more comprehensive).

VRBs are on the horizon! YAY!

posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:42 AM

Scientists at the University at Buffalo think so.

They have identified a fluorescent dye called BODIPY as an ideal material for stockpiling energy in rechargeable, liquid-based batteries that could one day power cars and homes.

BODIPY [boron-dipyrromethene]... has unusual chemical properties that enable it to excel at two key tasks: storing electrons and participating in electron transfer.

Lithium-ion batteries, for example, are risky in that they can catch fire if they break open, [Timothy] Cook says. The dye-based batteries would not have this problem; if they ruptured, they would simply leak, he says.
In experiments, Cook's team filled both tanks of a redox flow battery with the same solution: a powdered BODIPY dye called PM 567 dissolved in liquid.

Within this cocktail, the BODIPY compounds displayed a notable quality: They were able to give up and receive an electron without degrading as many other chemicals do. This trait enabled the dye to store electrons and facilitate their transfer between the battery's two ends during repeated cycles—100—of charging and draining., Nov. 17, 2016 - Glow-in-the-dark dye could fuel liquid-based batteries.
Wikipedia: BODIPY.

Look ma! No acid or vanadium needed! Just some powdered dye (no word on what liquid it is dissolved in... Wikipedia say "organic solvent" and "water" as the primary use in chemically dying cells--since it fluoresces you shine a black light on it and it lights up which is what the title means. But no mention of what was used is in the article). It was first produced in 2009 (Wikipedia) so its use as an electrolyte in a flow battery is a new application. 100 cycles is good but 5,000 would be better to see how long it lasts before deteriorating as an installed flow battery needs to last at least 10 years or more. And if the whole electrolyte solution is non-corrosive that would be even better! Btw, in the article photo they show it as "glow in the dark" and it looks like Mr. Clean!

So between the Harvard organic quinone and now this powdered glow-in-the-dark dye the cost of redox flow batteries should come down around the mythical $100/kW range (or less) which makes this affordable for home use as well as industrial. Taking the strain off of the grid, especially during summer, would be a very good thing.

BODIPY flow batteries... coming to a neighborhood near you! Or let us hope so!

edit on 17-11-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: formattng

posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 02:01 PM

- ESS Inc., the leading manufacturer of safe, low-cost and long cycle-life batteries, will deliver a 60kW/225kWh All-Iron Flow Battery (IFB) system under contract to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The battery will be part of an integrated microgrid at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, where they will demonstrate long-duration storage capability for use in Forward Operating Bases (FOB). The U.S. military's main objective is to show that delivering dry long-duration batteries to the field significantly reduces fuel usage, hauling equipment requirements and associated logistics.

ESS Inc.'s All-Iron Flow Battery is an ideal solution for this type of use because it can be forward deployed in a dry state, adding water at the site. The IFB is also environmentally safe for transport and deployment in sensitive areas, and can be repositioned as needed. The advantage of adding local potable water after delivery is that the weight that must be transported is 60% less than other flow or traditional batteries. Additionally, with an electrolyte comprised of iron, salt and water, there is no health hazard or potential site contamination. (but the banner reads "Yahoo Sports!" lol) , Nov 16, 2016 - ESS Inc.'s All-Iron Flow Battery to Be Deployed in Microgrid Demonstration for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Homepage: Energy Storage Systems, Inc.

A demonstration model and proof of concept! The Army Corps of Engineers are no slouches on equipment so if this meets their standards then there are certain types of people that will also be onboard (OG types, survivalist, AK woodsmen and hunters--one for a cabin would be so cool! *ahem*).

For all RFBs, microgrids are on their way. It will first be industrial/centralized institutions (like hospitcals and schools) that will demonstrate local grid level energy storage as not only viable but useful. Next, electric companies will start using them first as load shifters, then as integral parts of electricity generation.

Personally, I was doubtful on the "iron" portion and have not been really following this FB very closely (personally hyped on the Harvard organic one but they have gone dark so who knows what is up there). Like I said, the fact that you can ship this dry is a huge selling point! No airplane bans here!

Way to go ESS!

[ETA: ESS' IFB is 20,000+ cycles compared to 100 cycles of the BODIPY in previous post]

edit on 17-11-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: grammar nazi

edit on 17-11-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: its a fair cop

posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 02:32 PM
Three for Thursday... in the flow battery thread! It normally happens in the Graphene Mega thread so this is a first!

•On July 18, 2016, [Largo Resources Ltd. Referred to as "The Company" in this PR] announced that it had entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding ("MOU") with Vionx Energy Corporation ("Vionx"), a company which develops, produces and sells vanadium redox flow batteries ("VRBs") for utility grid applications. The MOU is conditional upon a number of items as set out in the Company's press release dated July 18, 2016 .

The Company's Maracás Menchen Mine achieved a new monthly production record of 806 tonnes of vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) in September 2016. Production in July 2016 was 630 tonnes, with 746 tonnes produced in August 2016. (again!), Nov 15, 2016 - Largo reports highlights of its 3rd quarter fiscal 2016 financial results.

Vionix is the Massachusetts based company that builds grid-level vanadium redox flow batteries. So Largo is upping their production of vanadium, that is cool! They would not up production if it is not being sold. And it is not just vanadium but vanadium pentoxide which is the form specifically used in RFBs.

I wonder what is going on in Massachusetts?

Executives with Boston-based, Vionx Energy have announced an ecosystem of companies to launch and commercialize a groundbreaking storage technology poised to transform how modern grids are managed and optimized. The unique relationship brings together six global companies— United Technologies Corp. (UTC), Starwood Energy Group, Siemens, 3M, VantagePoint Capital Partners and Jabil—to license, finance, manufacture and deploy the energy storage system., press release, Oct. 7, 2016 - Top Energy and Finance Companies Launch Next Generation Storage System for Utility and Grid-Scale Applications.

Seems nobody picked up on this one so here is a share! This is really HUGE news. So no wonder the MOU Largo signed! Seems like grid-level storage is coming sooner rather than later! YAY! It only makes sense in the long run to store what you produce energy wise.

All that from a financial PR from Yahoo Sports! (hehe)

posted on Nov, 18 2016 @ 08:54 AM

Will need sometime to wrap my head around this, thanks, had not much clue of this

posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 02:36 PM
a reply to: eldemie

The original flow battery concept is straight from NASA.

Basic Flow Battery 101.

An electrolyte is charged either in the battery itself or separately. One half is negative and the other is positive (in the most basic setup). Between each liquid is a porous material called a "membrane" that prevent the two fluids from touching. Electrons flow across the membrane in their tendency to reach equilibrium. When tapped into, electricity is the result.

Flow batteries are reusable, rechargeable, and can be depleted to 0% charge with no bad effects on the electrolyte.

FBs are scalable. You can run one in your house, the utility company can run one for the neighborhood, they can run one at the electric station and keep an even amount of electricity available. At the grid-level, this keeps from stopping and starting generators which would reduce maintenance costs in the long run.

From what I can tell, FBs are being seriously looked into for grid-level usage. Hope that helps!


VanadiumCorp Resource Inc.,... is pleased to announce it has joined Energy Storage Canada (ESC). The ESC is the only energy storage industry association in Canada. ESC was founded in 2012 as a subgroup of the Corporate Partners Committee under the Smart Grid Forum.

Storage is the key to making renewable energy a fully competitive component of any electrical grid. It can make our grid cleaner and more efficient, for the benefit of all consumers – large and small, urban and rural. There is the opportunity, in Canada, to become world leaders in developing energy storage technologies like the vanadium redox flow battery. (.ca), business news, Nov. 21, 2016 - VanadiumCorp joins Energy Storage Canada.

This announcement goes hand-in-hand with the Canadian government announcement previously posted. Seems like ESC is moving along and Canada has some direction which I find the new President elect lacking--direction and vision. The Arpa-E is fine but it is very slow going. And if the Trumpster deems it a waste of money and cuts their funding (he probably does not even know they exist) then we take a step backwards as a nation. So even without a government initiative like Canada, there is hope that energy companies find it in their own best interest to proceed forward with grid-level storage.

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 02:16 PM

Last year Austin-based ViZn Energy Systems had developed a zinc-iron redox battery system, the product of eight years of work, which it touted as safe, efficient, durable and flexible.
When Dominion Virginia Power opened a 50 KW roof-top solar installation at Randolph-Macon University in Hanover County in April 2015, it installed one of ViZn’s 48 kW “flow” batteries along with a smaller, 7 kW “wet cell” battery to test in real-world conditions.
As it turned out, the flow battery did not meet expectations from a reliability standpoint, says Crable. When the lease on the battery system expired, Dominion chose not to renew it., Nov. 21, 2016 - The (Battery) Acid Test.

I personally feel that the iron-(name other element) redox flow batteries are not the way to go. Looks we have an author ready to toss the baby out with the bath water! How about some words on "why" the battery was not reliable? Nope, just the dismissive sentence. How long did it last before the issues showed up? Maybe it was a perception thing. Oh well.

There are other flow batteries out there with different chemistries. Perhaps it was too hot there for this type of flow battery. Who knows. One size does not fit all and perhaps the battery was under worked or over worked. Hey, try vanadium RFBs! See if they are any better.

Oh well. It is nice to see a real world application even if for ViZn Energy System... EPIC FAIL. Usually when that happens you do a post review and find out what went wrong to prevent the issues from occurring in the future. Company reputation is on the line. I hope they do so in this case and find a root cause then address their issues.

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 07:02 PM
The US Navy has been looking at flow batteries as a defense against EMP.

You can charge the chargeable fluid outside the EMP safe zone in one flow battery.
And then pump the fluid into the EMP safe zone to use the power through another battery.

You can also change voltages without transformers.
you can have a 12 volt flow battery charger and a 48 volt flow battery supplying power to a user.
edit on 22-11-2016 by ANNED because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 29 2016 @ 01:16 PM
a reply to: ANNED

Yep, it is not like "12 volt only" application for one battery and "24 volt only" for another. And you can charge them with DC (like from solar cells or wind) or AC. With the right output transformer you supply either too.

I also think that scalability is going to be an unrecognized benefit. From home, to neighborhood, to grid-level, all working together to even out energy delivery and consumption. People will look back and wonder how we ever dealt with blackouts!

posted on Dec, 5 2016 @ 11:38 AM

The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), an innovation hub based at Argonne National Laboratory, will build an organic flow [battery] prototype for grid storage and a perfected lithium-sulfur prototype for transportation. JCESR will test the prototypes to prove they can achieve the project's founding goal: five times the energy density of commercial batteries at one-fifth their 2011 cost.

The new batteries will have to cost less than $100/kWh when scaled for commercialization., Dec. 5, 2016 - Argonne Settles On Two Most Promising Successors To Lithium Ion Battery.

The article states they review 22,500 different elements (electrolyte and ions) and the two most promising at cost were the organic RFB and the lithium-sulfur for mobile applications (looks like EV cars). The "magic" spot of $100/kwh is also breached. That means there will be no excuses to deploy RFBs and you will fall behind the curve if you do not.

YAY! Redox flow batteries! Now not in the distant future but sooner. Thanks Argonne!

posted on Dec, 5 2016 @ 11:58 AM

For transportation the Centre [JCESR] has developed a battery with a lithium metal anode protected from degradation by
a graphene oxide membrane, a polymer-composite sulfur cathode, and an electrolyte that is sparingly soluble for the polysulfides that form during charge and discharge. This battery system is attractive because of its high theoretical energy density and the low cost of sulfur. Key to success will be achieving a very low ratio of electrolyte to sulfur content. Full cell testing of each of these concepts is now underway, and proof-of-principle prototypes will soon be evaluated. - US backs redux flow and lithium sulphur for future batteries.

This is over two pages if you go to the URL. So there you have it, some info on the chemistry is shared in this article. And look, graphene has made an appearance! Flow batteries and graphene or graphene aerogel are natural fits and it was only a matter of time before the cross-over. A barrier to prevent oxidation is just the start. Aerogel will be used, eventually, as the membrane itself once they manufacture to specifications instead of just in the lab. So there is going to be a challenger to vanadium. This is cool beans!! All electrolytes are welcome!

No word on the Harvard organic electrolyte. Bummer.

posted on Dec, 9 2016 @ 02:08 PM

The Snohomish County Public Utility District in Washington has installed a 2 MW, 8 MWh vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) that is due online in the first half of next year.
The VRFB battery is being supplied by UniEnergy Technologies and will use modular energy storage architecture (MESA) technology, Dec. 8, 2016 - Snohomish PUD in Washington to install 2 MW, 8 MWh flow battery.

Snohomish PUD: website

The entire installation includes Li ion batteries as well. The total cost is $15 million for the project and all the batteries. There is also some predictive software being used so that probably adds to the cost. Lots of info on the PUD site including a video. The picture of what the finished installation is supposed to look like is pretty cool. The site states the VRFBs will be house at a sub-station near their op center. Their goal is to integrate renewable sources into the system. I bet they will find out other added benefits that were not even looking for!

So here is an example of an installation here in the US to come online in 2017!
edit on 9-12-2016 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: clarity

posted on Dec, 12 2016 @ 04:57 PM

The solar PV industry’s evolution has taken another, somewhat unexpected step this week following the unveiling by California-headquartered solar tracking company NEXTracker of its new NX Fusion Plus – a tracker-plus storage device for PV plants.

The NX Fusion Plus is a composite of a 25 kWh Avalon vanadium flow battery, connected to a string inverter made by Ideal Power (the Sundial Plus) and a NEXTracker NX Horizon tracker. Dec. 7, 2016 - NEXTracker unveils tracker plus storage solution.

NEXTracker: website (the VRFB are the things tat look like bbq grills next to the panels)

So the solar panels are self-powered to track the sun and now (look, “fusion,” the new buzzword) it comes with VRFB! The software was the main selling point, “machine learning” and “predictive analytics,” but now they can deliver a more constant product by including the VFB. I like the "unexpected" part the best!

This is another example of a company going vertical with their products (software and PVs) are from Flex Energy. The other equipment by partners. A complete system from one source… value added reseller indeed!

Cost? I do not know but they call their installations "projects" so it is probably not cheap.

posted on Dec, 12 2016 @ 05:38 PM

"Vanadium electrolyte makes up 30 per cent of the overall capital cost of the battery and a lot of that is due to transport," he said.

"So if we [Australia Vanadium Limited] can produce that in Australia from local vanadium then we're really value adding."

If his research proved successful, the company would also supply the manufacturing plant with vanadium from its Gabanintha deposit south of Meekatharra.

ABC online (.au), Dec. 7, 2016 - Vanadium batteries become option for solar panel owners looking for lithium-ion alternatives

This is a two-fer update. First, is an overview of the customer's needs in Western Australia who installed the vanadium redox flow battery on their farm. They state that it was cheaper to install one than string up more power lines and a new out shack. Second, is the overall plan of AVL to in the long run to produce the electrolyte in Australia rather than ship it from Austria and from their own vanadium mine. That is why they have that vanadium pilot plant from a post a page or so back.

It is nice to see it all working out. The article has to explain the what and the why of RFBs which is one of the better ones but having both updates is also nice.

posted on Dec, 12 2016 @ 11:40 PM

originally posted by: TEOTWAWKIAIFF

Li-ion as a grid-level storage device? OhhhKaaaayy... How long before it catches fire like the Samsung 7 phones (actually, they are saying all Samsung phones could catch fire)?

Li-Fe batteries are much safer than Li-ion. Samsung 7 is not a good representation of the technology.
edit on 12-12-2016 by dfnj2015 because: (no reason given)

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