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This type of battery can offer almost unlimited energy capacity simply by using larger electrolyte storage tanks. It can be left completely discharged for long periods with no ill effects, making maintenance simpler than other batteries. Because of these unique properties, the new V-flow batteries reduce the cost of storage to about 5¢/kWh.
These batteries are rather large and best suited to industrial and utility scale applications. They could never fit in an electric car, so the Tesla battery is safe for now. But the V-flow battery outcompetes Li-ion, and any other solid battery, for utility-scale applications. They’re just safer, more scalable, longer-lasting and cheaper - less than half the cost per kWh. [Info graphic below this paragraph at the article]
UniEnergy Technologies (UET) of Seattle produces the largest MW-scale vanadium flow batteries yet, using a molecule developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. PNNL’s breakthrough was to introduce hydrochloric acid into the electrolyte solution, almost doubling the storage capacity and making the system work over a far greater range of temperatures, from -40°C to 50°C (-40°F to 122°F), removing a large previous cost of maintaining temperature control.
Carnegie Wave Energy’s 100 per cent owned subsidiary, Energy Made Clean, is set to develop and demonstrate a commercial-scale solar and battery storage plant in Australia…
Carnegie said on Tuesday that EMC had signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese company Sumitomo Electric Industries and ASX-listed TNG Limited to assess the potential applications of VRF batteries in Australia through an initial joint demonstration project.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you can see it by the truckload parked behind an Army Reserve building at Fort Devens [Massachusetts]. Inside, two 53-foot-long shipping containers are huge tanks filled with vanadium — the element named after the Scandinavian goddess of beauty.
"The vanadium, the beautiful part about it is the liquid changes color," says Vionx Energy CEO David Vieau. "It's like a rainbow goes through as you charge it. It changes. We can actually tell charge state by the color of the liquid."
"Flow batteries is one of the most interesting directions for storage," Moniz says, "because, roughly speaking, the energy is stored outside the battery rather than inside."
If you need to store more energy just add more big tanks filled with the electrolyte.
"Energy storage is a game changer if we get the cost down," Moniz says. "One principal reason is to be able to manage the variability of wind and solar."
The Vionx storage system puts the search for the renewable energy holy grail within sight, except for one thing: the cost.
"It's about $400 per kilowatt-hour for a DC [direct current] system. And that's going to go down by a third over the next few years," Vieau says.
Still, that's nearly three times the cost the Energy Department has set as the renewable energy storage holy grail. But, according to Vieau, if you spread out the upfront costs over decades and attach the system to a solar farm, the redox flow battery will be able to store and generate electricity at half the price of burning diesel.
Harvard University, and it is based on a common little molecule that is almost exactly the same as one found in rhubarb. The rhubarbesque molecule is part of a group called quinones, which are used to store energy in any number of green plants...
Quinones are cheap and abundant in nature — so abundant, in fact, that the research team ran 10,000 different quinone molecules through a computer model searching for the best candidates to adapt to flow batteries.
After the findings were published in Nature, the project immediately attracted interest. As soon as Emilio Sassone Corsi at the Italian consulting firm Management Innovation read about the breakthrough, he jumped on a plane from Rome to Boston for a meeting with Dr. Aziz, the battery project's director, to discuss the opportunities for commercialization.
In March of this year , a deal was struck. Green Energy Storage was founded and secured exclusive licensing rights for the technology and the products it yields in the 28 European Union nations, Norway, and Switzerland, effectively reaching all of Europe.
[In] previous work in which the team developed a high-capacity flow battery that stored energy in organic molecules called quinones and a food additive called ferrocyanide.
“Now, after considering about a million different quinones, we have developed a new class of battery electrolyte material that expands the possibilities of what we can do,” said Kaixiang Lin, a Ph.D. student at Harvard and first author of the paper.
The key difference between vitamin B2 and quinones is that nitrogen atoms, instead of oxygen atoms, are involved in picking up and giving off electrons.
“With only a couple of tweaks to the original B2 molecule, this new group of molecules becomes a good candidate for alkaline flow batteries,” said [Dr.] Aziz.
"I think we have a fighting chance of delivering on that 'holy grail' within a decade," says [Dr.] Michael Aziz, a Harvard professor of materials and energy technologies who has tested tens of thousands of compounds for his new battery.
"So we found ways to make them soluble in water, and to change the energies at which they pick up and give off electrons. [We] put it in a battery, and it worked. And we've been developing that idea ever since."
The professors' rhubarb days were a few years ago. Since then, they've evaluated hundreds of thousands of organic compounds to see which ones could store and discharge energy.
The researchers used mathematical models of chemical structures to determine which were promising. They tried aloe vera and vitamin K. Then the quest for quinones expanded to other kinds of organic molecules to include compounds containing nitrogen, like vitamin B2. Tweak it a bit, and it makes a pretty decent battery.
But right now, the lab storage cells are the size of postage stamps [!!!], and the electrolyte solutions fit into small beakers. The best experimental battery isn't very powerful.
In just one year, our first-class team of Italian and international researchers and engineers has managed to create not only a product, but an entire range of batteries with a capacity from 3kW to 10kW and more.”
The start-up includes several high-profile professionals and counts on strong partnerships with professors Michael J. Aziz and Roy G. Gordon from Harvard University, professor Silvia Licoccia from Rome’s Università di Tor Vergata and with the Bruno Kessler Foundation.
...“The fundings will allow us to fulfil our ambitious corporate growth, aimed to develop a $200 per kilowatt-hour organic flow battery within the next four years”.
Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL) has produced its first batch of vanadium electrolyte from the successfully installed and commissioned pilot plant at the University of Western Australia.
This represents another important milestone for AVL’s energy storage strategy as the product is suitable for the use in vanadium redox flow batteries (VRBs).
Plans for a larger commercial plant will begin to be evaluated shortly by the company as part of a concept study.
The company’s strategy is to deliver vanadium products such as batteries to end users and supply and process raw materials sourced from [its] Gabanintha vanadium project in Western Australia.
Based on current market design and state rules, 600 megawatts is a reasonable target, said State of Charge coauthor Jacqueline DeRosa, vice president of emerging technologies at Customized Energy Solutions.
For others, like Ted Ko, director of policy at commercial storage company Stem, 600 megawatts is the minimum for attracting a bustling industry.
"The state can and should go higher -- the industry has shown time and again that it is ready to respond quickly, at scale, when given a big enough market signal"…
The category of energy storage includes systems that operate on a matter of minutes, or for half an hour, or a couple hours, or very many hours. Different jobs require different durations.
"My biggest wish is that the storage be discussed in terms of its application, and therefore the type of technology that is best suited to meet that application," said Jonathan Milley, director of business development at Massachusetts-based battery maker Vionx. "If you need a hammer, don’t get a screwdriver."
Vionx is scaling its flow battery technology, and has one system operating in Massachusetts, one being commissioned and one under construction. Those three will add up to more than 1 megawatt of capacity at 6 hours duration.
Testing of the Zhangbei National Wind and Solar Energy Storage and Transmission Demonstration Project’s 8 megawatt-hour vanadium flow battery system was successfully completed last weekend.
According to Sparton Resources Inc., the battery was continuously operated at full design capacity for ten days and exceeded specifications by 10%. Smoothing tests using State Grid North China Company Limited’s software were also satisfactorily completed.
“Both State Grid and the Company technicians have indicated they are extremely pleased with the program and will prepare comprehensive reports on the test procedures and results,” says Sparton Resources. ” These will be submitted shortly to State Grid for acceptance.”
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new flow battery that stores energy in organic molecules dissolved in neutral pH water. This new chemistry allows for a non-toxic, non-corrosive battery with an exceptionally long lifetime and offers the potential to significantly decrease the costs of production.
The research, published in ACS Energy Letters, was led by Michael Aziz [that guy! Again!]...
By modifying the structures of molecules used in the positive and negative electrolyte solutions, and making them water soluble, the Harvard team was able to engineer a battery that loses only one percent of its capacity per 1000 cycles.
By first identifying how the molecule viologen in the negative electrolyte was decomposing, Beh was able to modify its molecular structure to make it more resilient.
Next, the team turned to ferrocene, a molecule well known for its electrochemical properties, for the positive electrolyte.
"Ferrocene is great for storing charge but is completely insoluble in water"...
But by functionalizing ferrocene molecules in the same way as with the viologen, the team was able to turn an insoluble molecule into a highly soluble one that could also be cycled stably.
Harvard [ Office of Technology Development] has filed a portfolio of pending patents on innovations in flow battery technology.
…one European automaker by the name of nanoFlowcell will tell you, there’s a third way that combines the best of liquid refueling and battery packs in something called a redox flow battery — or as it prefers to call them, a nanoflowcell battery. And while the company itself is just four years old, the company has just announced that it will be demonstrating the latest in a line of prototype electric vehicles at this year’s Geneva Motor Show that it hopes will revolutionize the way we think about electric cars.
[nanoFlowcell says it] has solved both of those problems with its latest nanoflowcell technology, producing a flow cell stack made up of six flow cells in parallel that can produce the low voltage and high current required of them to power the QUANT 48VOLT’s quartet of 120 kilowatt electric motors. With variable power output, the company says the system is lighter and less complex than previous generation systems too, lowering overall cost.
with a claimed 186 mph top speed and a 2.4-second 0-62 mph time, along with a claimed range in excess of 600 miles on the standard NEDC test cycle
Today, SDG&E [San Diego Gas and Electric] is unveiling a new vanadium redox flow (VRF) battery storage pilot project in coordination with Sumitomo Electric (SEI), which stemmed from a partnership between Japan's New Energy and Industrial Development Organization (NEDO) and the California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). During the four-year demonstration project, SDG&E will be researching if flow battery technology can economically enhance the delivery of reliable energy to customers, integrate growing amounts of renewable energy and increase the flexibility in the way the company manages the power grid.
The vanadium redox flow battery storage facility will provide 2 megawatts (MW) of energy, enough to power the energy equivalent of about 1,000 homes for up to four hours. Like other battery storage systems, the battery will act like a sponge to soak up renewable energy harnessed from the sun and release it when resources are in high demand.
Researchers at ETH Zurich and IBM Research Zurich have built a thin redox flow battery that could be built into computer chip stacks.
Using flow batteries as layers in a 3D stack would provide both power and cooling at the same time. In a flow battery, an electrochemical reaction is used to produce electricity out of two liquid electrolytes, which are pumped to the battery cell from outside via a closed electrolyte loop.
"The chips are effectively operated with a liquid fuel and produce their own electricity," said Dimos Poulikakos, Professor of Thermodynamics at ETH Zurich.
The battery is just 1.5 mm thick and the idea is to assemble chip stacks layer by layer with the batteries in between. The output of the new micro-battery also reaches a record high of 1.4 W/cm2.
The Adelaide firm that claims its pioneering silicon storage device can displace lithium ion batteries is brushing off the Tesla, Snowy Hydro publicity blitz and accelerating plans for a $10 million mid-year IPO and commercial rollout later this year.
The technology store electrical energy - from wind turbines or other sources - by using it to heat a block of pure silicon to melting point – 1414 degrees Celsius. It discharges through a turbine, which converts heat back to electrical energy, and recycles waste heat to lift efficiency.
Former CSIRO scientist Patrick Glynn has developed thermal batteries, or “thermal energy devices”, which use abundant silicon rather than the rare-earth metals lithium and ion, and are heralded as far more efficient and cheaper than lithium-ion batteries, the next best thing.
Dr Glynn developed the first technology while with the CSIRO as lead scientist in the area and lodged his first patent in 2000.
He later registered four more patents, each concerning new versions of the technology.
Now CCT has taken out an injunction against Dr Glynn — to be heard in South Australia’s Supreme Court today — seeking to prevent his working in the field. [!!!]
Dr Glynn’s lawyer, Alex Moriarty of Brisbane firm AJ & Co, said yesterday that Climate Change Technologies (CCT) was suing on a “one-page agreement” with no intellectual property, restraint of trade, confidentiality or remuneration provisions.
The fourth patent filed by Dr Glynn in August 2010 was sold soon after to 1414 Degrees. In November, 1414 Degrees lodged an objection with the patent office, disputing the originality of CCT’s thermal battery patent.
All this [energy storage] raises the question: Who will lead the industry and make all those batteries?
If they all needed to be made today, the obvious answer would be China, Japan and South Korea. Asia is where 88 percent of all lithium-ion batteries are made now, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
When it comes to stationary storage, the United States is by far the world's largest market. While it may not make the batteries, it leads the world in deploying energy storage in buildings and on the grid, and it integrates the package with the most sophisticated energy-management software and services, said Ravi Manghani, an analyst with GTM [Green Tech Media] Research.
Another reason the United States may compete is that it leads in research on alternatives to lithium ion and in making lithium ion better. Some approaches have little to do with chemistry, such as filling caverns with compressed air, spinning flywheels extremely fast or storing energy in a train car filled with concrete.
But more attention is on improving chemistry, including formulations that could replace lithium ion. The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), based at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago, is operating with $120 million from the Department of Energy. With 20 participating institutions, it is creating four new prototypes of batteries, each with the goal of achieving five times the density and one-fifth the cost of today's lithium-ion batteries. They're due near the end of this year .
These chemistries, including lithium-sulfur and an organic "flow" battery, would entail new manufacturing processes that would essentially start the industry over and erase Asia's lead.
"When it emerges, we'll all be in the same place," said George Crabtree, the director of JCESR.
Officials are celebrating the installation of the world's largest containerized vanadium flow battery storage system by capacity, which uses electrolyte chemistry developed at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, PNNL's Jud Virden and others are gathering today at the headquarters of UniEnergy Technologies, also known as UET, whose advanced vanadium flow battery was recently installed at a Snohomish PUD substation near Everett, Wash.
Although this [Washington's] flow battery is currently among the largest installed on a grid in the world, that distinction man not last for long. UET’s sister company is Chinese flow battery manufacturer Rongke Power (both companies hare a major investor, and UET buys its electrical stacks from Rongke, according to Gastineau). Last year, the China National Energy Administration approved a massive 200MW/800MWh installation proposed by Rongke for the Liaodong Peninsula in northeast China, a strip of land that’s home to Dalian, a city of nearly 7 million people. The Chinese government has recently pushed to improve energy resiliency on the typhoon-wracked peninsula by adding more renewable power and energy storage.
Rongke’s flow battery will be connected directly to a wind farm, Gastineau added.
John Cushman, Purdue University distinguished professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary science and a professor of mathematics, presented the research findings “Redox reactions in immiscible-fluids in porous media – membraneless battery applications” at the recent International Society for Porous Media 9th International Conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Cushman co-founded Ifbattery LLC (IF-battery) to further develop and commercialize the technology.
“Electric and hybrid vehicle sales are growing worldwide and the popularity of companies like Tesla is incredible, but there continues to be strong challenges for industry and consumers of electric or hybrid cars,” said Cushman, who led the research team that developed the technology.
•UniEnergy Technologies, LLC (UET), Mukilteo, Washington, in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), for an advanced vanadium redox flow battery, originally developed at the PNNL and commercialized by UET. The battery, when used by utility, commercial and industrial customers, allows cities and businesses more access to stored energy. It also lasts longer and works in a broad temperature range with one-fifth the footprint of previous flow battery technologies. The electrolyte is water-based and does not degrade, and the batteries are non-flammable and recyclable, thus helping meet the increasing demand of electrical energy storage in the electrical power market, from generation, transmission, and distribution to the end users of electricity.
UET recently installed a 2 Megawatt/8 Megawatt-hour flow battery for Snohomish Public Utility District in Everett, Wash., that is the largest containerized flow battery system in the world. To date, the company has installed more than 14 Megawatt-hours of flow batteries to support a variety of grid services, including integrating renewable energy onto the power grid and ensuring power quality at manufacturing facilities. With over 155 Megawatt-hours of further systems ordered or awarded, UET's sales thus far have been in three countries and six U.S. states.
The MIT researchers found a promising method of forming liquid copper metal and sulfur gas in their cell from an electrolyte composed of barium sulfide, lanthanum sulfide, and copper sulfide, which yields greater than 99.9 percent pure copper. This purity is equivalent to the best current copper production methods.
These sulfide minerals are compounds where the metal and the sulfur elements share electrons. In their molten state, copper ions are missing one electron, giving them a positive charge, while sulfur ions are carrying two extra electrons, giving them a negative charge. The desired reaction in an electrolysis cell is to form elemental atoms, by adding electrons to metals such as copper, and taking away electrons from sulfur. This happens when extra electrons are introduced to the system by the applied voltage. The metal ions are reacting at the cathode, a negatively charged electrode, where they gain electrons in a process called reduction; meanwhile, the negatively charged sulfur ions are reacting at the anode, a positively charged electrode, where they give up electrons in a process called oxidation.
The new work doubles the efficiency for electrolytic extraction of copper reported in the first paper, which was 28 percent with an electrolyte where only barium sulfide added to the copper sulfide, to 59 percent in the second paper with both lanthanum sulfide and barium sulfide added to the copper sulfide.
“Demonstrating that we can perform faradaic reactions in a liquid metal sulfide is novel and can open the door to study many different systems,” Chmielowiec says. “It works for more than just copper. We were able to make rhenium, and we were able to make molybdenum.”