- Daily Zen
Flow Battery is a rechargeable battery, wherein two electrolyte chemical constitutions are dissolved in liquids; and enclosed in separate tanks. These solutions come in contact, when pumped in a common area, which creates an electric charge. The flow battery industry is an emerging one, with recent projects developed in Hawaii and Southern California.
Definitely, the lithium-ion batteries have a wide-spread market; but it is also noticeable that the flow batteries have some great advantages over their lithium-ion competitors. As far as energy density is a concern, flow batteries have less energy densities than lithium-ion ones. Typically, they are stored in a grid-style; which is why it is not a compulsion for them to be light-weight or portable. However, its battery capacity limits to the amount of stored solution, due to which it becomes a necessity to store a huge amount of energy.
Ars Technica reports that, UniEnergy Technologies (UET) has installed a new flow battery. UniEnergy Technologies installed this 2 megawatt/8 megawatt-hour (MWH) flow battery at a Snohomish Public Utility District (PUD) sub-station, in Washington. UET’s installation of advanced vanadium flow battery is said to be the world’s largest containerized storage system; according to capacity. According to a news release by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL); the electrolyte chemistry which is used in the vanadium redox (short version for reduction-oxidation) flow battery is developed at the Department of Energy’s PNNL.
Gary Yang, a former research person at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), founded UniEnergy Technologies. He has worked on flow batteries at PNNL’s lab and has also licensed the technologies of PNNL, at the start of UniEnergy Technologies (UET). A spokesperson of UniEnergy Technologies (UET), Renee Gastineau said that just like lithium-ion batteries, the cost of flow batteries is also decreasing significantly.
Reportedly, UniEnergy Technologies has devoted many years to develop the technology; followed by operating a demo project during 2015, which lasted for a time period of one and a half year. Also, the Snohomish Public Utility District (PUD) plans to test out its other modest sized battery for a predictable future; according to Ars Technica.
As far as the flow battery market is concerned; if things go well, the integration of more number of flow batteries on the grids in the U.S., and in other places around the world is possible.