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Renewable Energy Intergration - Vanadium Redox Flow Battery

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

The surge of renewable energy has brought to light a new challenge: energy storage.

Presently, the leading choice for energy storage is lithium-ion batteries, which has its own unique pros and cons, including high costs.

However, a glimmer of hope emerges as a third option enters the spotlight. A remarkable battery, conceived by an Australian professor in the 1980s, has been steadily gaining prominence and is now being hailed as the answer to this storage dilemma.

What is a Vanadium Redox Flow Battery?

The Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) is a type of rechargeable flow battery that employs vanadium ions as charge carriers. Vanadium Redox Flow Technology stores significant amounts of energy created by renewable sources such as sun and wind using the unique chemical properties of Vanadium.

How does Vanadium Redox Flow Battery work?

Vanadium peroxide is converted into an electrolyte solution during the procedure. The module itself is made up of two tanks, with a positive electrolyte solution pumped from one tank while a negative solution is provided from the other. Between the two sides, the solutions pass to one or more electrochemical cell stacks. The storage and release of electricity is then managed by a charge controller and an inverter.

Vanadium Redox Flow Modules are not like lithium batteries, which store the charge in the battery unit itself. As a result, lithium batteries are lighter and better suited to powering electric cars or mobile gadgets.

Conversely, while heavier, Vanadium Redox Flow Modules can carry far more energy, they are more chemically stable (noncombustible), and have significantly longer battery life - 20 years or more. They can also charge and discharge simultaneously.

This makes them appropriate for industrial-sized applications as well as energy firming for electricity grids where the inconsistent renewable supply (due to varying weather conditions) may result in system instability.

The concept of a "flow" module dates back to the 1970s and NASA technology that used chemicals such as zinc bromide. Groundbreaking research at the University of New South Wales in the 1980s resulted in the use of vanadium to make an electrolyte solution.

Continuous research has developed the technology to the point that it is now cost-effective to deliver for commercial use.

What are the advantages of Vanadium Redox Flow Battery?

  • High competitive return on investment due to extended operating life.

  • Highly recyclable chemical components

  • More sustainable provision of energy storage over an asset life significantly higher than lithium

  • Reliable operation in high ambient temperature environments

  • Chemical components that are highly recyclable

  • Higher levels of safety due to the use of an electrolyte formula that is non-flammable

The team at Divergent Engineering are battery management system experts. Our capabilities range from concept design, enclosure design, structural and wind testing, microprocessor programming, mechanical design to integration and commissioning.

Part 2 of the series will focus on how Divergent Engineering has incorporated Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries for Renewable Energy Intergration.

Contact Divergent Engineering to explore how we can help you on Renewable Energy Intergration, Battery Energy Storage System Intergration and more!

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