The need for energy is increasing globally as is the demand to move cleaner non-polluting technologies.
Wind and solar energy production is increasing as well and becoming a lot more cost competitive. In some areas of the world, there is a commitment to use wind and solar for the generation of the majority of power needs in the near future.
One of the most significant challenges is balancing the production of solar and wind generated power with demand. For example, tourist destinations (islands, etc.) experience a surge in demand for a few weeks of the year. In order to address this asymmetry between demand and supply we need solutions that enable us to store effectively, long-term, and at a low-cost excess power during off-peak periods and release it when needed.
One of the most promising technologies that is already deployed to achieve this is the various forms of flow batteries. Vanadium based flow batteries are the most popular, though other technologies, like iron-based batteries, are gaining momentum. Some of the key benefits of Redox Flow Batteries are:
- flexible layout (due to separation of the power and energy components)
- long cycle life
- quick response times
- no need to overcharge to ensure all cells have an equal charge
- no harmful emissions.
- low maintenance and tolerance to overcharge/overdischarge.
- Operate at higher current and power densities vs. Li-ion
Advent materials (membranes, custom electrodes) have been tested with excellent results in flow batteries.