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Has The Great Flow Battery Battle Started?

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posted on Jul, 6 2017 @ 02:35 PM
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One of Germany’s largest utilities wants to build what it says could be the biggest 'battery' in the world to date – using underground caverns filled with saltwater as a giant redox flow energy storage system.

EWE GASSPEICHER, a subsidiary of utility EWE based in Oldenburg, northern Germany, said a few days ago that it wants to construct redox flow batteries inside underground salt caverns currently used for storing natural gas.


The university team then hit upon the idea of using the underground salt caverns as containers for the electrolyte. The underground caverns are often vast, offering potential for storing large amounts of energy. Initially, the project’s battery will be constructed and contained in plastic containers at another site before being transferred into the caverns.

Energy-Storage.news, June 30, 2017 - German utility EWE wants to build giant redox flow system in underground caverns.

The article points out it is safer than vanadium and probably cheaper. Oh, you have got love German engineering! There would be one anode cavern and one cathode cavern. Looks like they would pump out the electrolytes to a "membrane power station" for either charging or discharging. Probably both at the same time! Why limit yourself to just two caverns? Why not four? Charged cavern, flows across the membrane, then pumped to an empty cavern (both electrolytes can do this). When it is time to charge, reverse the process!

Besides the compressed air energy storage this is one wild idea! And redox flow batteries are not in heavy use!

They said the system could be operational by 2023 (same source).




posted on Aug, 22 2017 @ 06:11 PM
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For some alternative energy enthusiasts, Musk's deal wasn't good enough. Instead of buying Tesla's Powerwall, they build their own DIY versions using recycled batteries for a fraction of the cost. Then, naturally, they share their creations and swap knowledge with other hobbyists across the internet. DIY powerwall enthusiasts congregate on a dedicated forum, in Facebook groups, and on YouTube.

DIY Powerwall Builders Are Using Recycled Laptop Batteries to Power Their Homes.

I was having a chuckle at what people are doing and how they are circumventing the monopoly Musk wants on power storage using his product.

Then I thought, "Hey, if they can hack a Powerwall, well, what about a redox flow battery?" A quick google later and I read this article...

seeker.com, Nov. 2016 - Junkyard Metal Turned Into a DIY Super Battery.

Link to PDF at ACS Energy: From the Junkyard to the Power Grid: Ambient Processing of Scrap Metals into Nanostructured Electrodes for Ultrafast Rechargeable Batteries.

The gist is they used an electrical process on spare brass to make it "open up pores" where electron can gather (they actually did this to both anode and electrode), they put them in a jar, added a barrier to keep them from instantaneously reacting, attached some wires to both hunks of metals, and created a redox battery they say is similar to the Baghdad Battery in both design and operation (no harsh chemicals or acids here).

Well, why not do both at the same time?? Make a DIY RFB that is Powerwall sized? It would be easier than opening Li-ion batteries to scavenge usable cells. No need to replace individual batteries that fail either. Two glass carboys, some stoppers, some shielded wiring, then some kind of charge monitoring system.

Anyway, one of those ideas where it is possible. I do not have the space to do this myself. Maybe in a small demo, science project like way but I rent, so no real space to do this.

I know there are a few that can. And here is an idea that bypasses the entire industry. I like the redox battery and the fact these guys published this for anybody to access!



posted on Sep, 25 2017 @ 05:02 PM
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Chattanooga's municipal power utility [EPB] on Friday energized a 100 kilowatt vanadium redox flow battery that researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed and which Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers will study.


"Because Chattanooga's power distribution infrastructure combines a communitywide fiber optics network with more than 1,200 automated power management devices to form one of the most advanced smart grids in the country, we are well-positioned to serve as a living laboratory for testing new technologies and developing best practices that will help other utilities modernize their infrastructure," EPB Chairman Joe Ferguson said.

govtech.com, Sept. 25, 2017 - New Battery Holds Promise for Substation Supplementation, Substitution.

Another muni put storage into the mix! This is a bit more sophisticated grid which I hope will make it more of a "no brainer" for utilities to open up to the idea of VRFBs on the grid.

Funny, must be something in the air. This is the fourth time today I've mentioned RFBs. It might have something to do with all the hurricanes. People get twitchy about something we all take for granted: electricity.

100 kW per 4 hour charge is too small of a step, IMO. In the end it is better than not having any at all!

ETA (same source):


The battery system for the EPB project is provided by UniEnergy Technologies, a Seattle-based manufacturer that already has installed five other designs of the new battery type at other sites around the globe. The new flow batteries have an efficiency of more than 70 percent, meaning there is less than a 30 percent loss of the power put into the battery compared with the amount that comes out and is delivered when it is needed.

edit on 25-9-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: should have read the whole article! D'oh!



posted on Nov, 14 2017 @ 06:20 PM
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Welcome UK to the wonderful world of energy storage!


The UK's largest flow battery system has been connected up to the power grid.

The vanadium redox flow technology will initially be used to store excess power from solar generation at the Olde House farm and holiday retreat in Cornwall until it is needed on site.

The containerised system has a storage capacity of 1MWh, a maximum output of 90kW and a lifespan of at least 25 years.

The supplier, RedT, says it will enable the site owner to cut imports from the power grid by up to 50 per cent during peak hours. It will also participate in the capacity market and be used to provide frequency response, short term operating reserve and demand turn-up services.

Networks.online, Nov. 14, 2017 - UK's largest flow battery system connected to grid.

1 MWh is not a huge amount of storage but it is how it is being used that is important. The whole VRFB sits in a shipping container and not even a full size one at that but one of the 1/3rd size ones. There are connections for solar power and regular power in and electricity out. The important part is that it is controlled release of power. Need more? It will put more out from the battery first. Making more solar than you are using? It will turn around and store it for you. Power goes out, it comes on to provide power.

50% cut during peak electrical production is a great selling point. They did get a government subsidy as part of research project but when the results come back I suspect it will be better than what they originally projected.

It is great to see a redox flow battery out in the real world and under real world conditions!



posted on Nov, 14 2017 @ 06:49 PM
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The factory sprawls over an area larger than 20 soccer fields [!!!]. Inside, it’s brightly lit and filled with humming machinery, a mammoth futuristic manufactory. Robot arms grab components from bins and place each part with precision, while conveyor belts move the assembled pieces smoothly down production lines. Finished products enter testing stations for quality checks before being packed for shipping.

It has been called a gigafactory, and it does indeed produce vast quantities of advanced batteries. But this gigafactory is in China, not Nevada. It doesn’t make batteries for cars, and it’s not part of the Elon Musk empire.

Opened in early 2017, in the northern Chinese port city of Dalian, this plant is owned by Rongke Power and is turning out battery systems for some of the world’s largest energy storage installations. It’s on target to produce 300 megawatts’ worth of batteries by the end of this year, eventually ramping up to 3 gigawatts per year.

The scale of this “other” gigafactory may be impressive, but the core technology it makes is even more compelling. The Dalian factory produces vanadium redox-flow batteries, a specialized type whose time has finally come. The VRFB was invented decades ago but has emerged only recently as one of the leading contenders for large-scale energy storage.

Spectrum.IEEE.org, Oct. 26, 2017 - It’s Big and Long-Lived, and It Won’t Catch Fire: The Vanadium Redox-⁠Flow Battery.

The author of this particular article worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and helped develop the vanadium pentoxide electrolyte in the current wave of vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB). He is cofounder of UET (UniEnergy Technologies), the guys that installed the farm at PUD in Snohomish, WA.

In other words, he knows what the h3ll he is talking about!


We’ve [UET] also brought down the batteries’ cost: A few years ago, the cost of a 4-⁠hour VRFB system was about $800 per kilowatt-hour. These days, it’s about half that, comparable to the cost of a stationary lithium-ion system. But that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. As mentioned earlier, like that of other solid-state batteries, lithium ion’s capacity degrades over time, and its life span is shorter. We’ve tested individual VRFBs through more than 14,000 cycles, fully charging and discharging each cycle, and they still perform at 100 percent capacity. This should translate into a life span of 20 years or more. To date, our company has installed several megawatt-scale systems around the world, with an additional 200 MWh either awarded or in contract.

(same source)

The article is a good historical review of how progress on VRFB has been made over the years. There is also a very detailed explanation on charging and discharging a flow battery, why it works, how they made it better, what areas came along that helped them out in formulating their new electrolyte, etc. There is also the peek at the future where you can see some excitement in his retelling of events and the tacit acknowledgement of what lies ahead.

This is one of those take a half-hour and read deeply about this technology! Has pictures of the Chinese gigafactory too!


edit on 14-11-2017 by TEOTWAWKIAIFF because: friggin autocorrect



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