Potential vanadium battery game changer
Vanadium electrolyte may put flow batteries in heavy vehicles Metal Tech News – December 16, 2020
Last updated 12/15/2020 at 3:46pm
Canada-based VanadiumCorp Resource Inc. is working with researchers in Germany and Australia to develop a vanadium bromide electrolyte that could contribute to a vanadium redox flow battery with enough energy density it could be used to power heavy-duty vehicles such as ships and trains.
Vanadium redox flow batteries hold several advantages in terms of lifespan and scalability that has them competing with lithium-ion batteries for grid-scale energy storage but are at a disadvantage when it comes to the energy-to-volume ratio needed for mobile applications. A vanadium bromide electrolyte may provide the energy storage density to make flow batteries mobile.
CENELEST – an alliance between the University of New South Wales in Australia and Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology in Germany to establish a joint international research center for stationary energy storage – is carrying out this extensive testing of the vanadium bromide electrolyte for VanadiumCorp.
Considered the next generation in vanadium flow batteries, this work follows on the pioneering research carried out by University of New South Wales Emeritus Professor Maria Skyllas-Kazacos, who invented battery flow systems in the 1980s and has been an advisory member of VanadiumCorp's board since 2011.
With all three parties contributing technologies and provisions for the study, work carried out by the trilateral partnership this year includes the formulation and characterization of a vanadium bromide electrolyte, selection of the materials for the battery cell, and testing of the cell.
The international partners believe the higher energy density vanadium bromide electrolyte, coupled with advancements in architecture of stacks of cells, may result in a two to three times increase in the energy stored and made available by vanadium redox flow batteries. This is a potential game-changer for energy storage for mobile applications in ships, trains and other heavy-duty vehicles that require higher energy density that was previously only possible with lithium-ion batteries.
VanadiumCorp plans to showcase advances made on the new electrolyte formula and vanadium cell early in 2021.
"We are at the forefront of VRFB (vanadium redox flow battery) innovation with CENELEST that could facilitate the electrification of both stationary and mobile applications," said VanadiumCorp Resources CEO Adriaan Bakker. "Vanadium is the only renewable metal in energy storage, and we plan to produce it with our 100% owned green technology as green fuel in energy storage that can be scaled to any size."
Further information on VanadiumCorp and the company's latest advances towards establishing a complete vanadium mines-to-batteries value chain can be read at VanadiumCorp acquires key refining tech in the November 30 edition of Metal Tech News.