A consortium of scientists is developing a new type of large fluid battery that will be able to store enough renewable energy to power 2,000 homes. One of the roadblocks to large-scale renewable energy adoption is that it is intermittent — if the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing power can’t be generated, so there is a tremendous need for systems that store excess power to be released as needed. These new batteries are based on redox flow technology — which converts chemical energy to electrical currents very quickly — and each one will be the size of a handball court.
The scientists have already developed a working 2 kilowatt battery and are hoping to scale the model up to 20 megawatt hours. “The process already works reliably,” notes Dr. Christian Dötsch, business unit manager for a participating institute, Energy Efficiency Technologies at UMSICHT. “The challenge lies in the upscale version, the enlargement of these plants.”
In principle the scientists believe they can build an 80 kW battery with their present technology, and they hope to get a 20 kW system up and running by the end of this year. They are working on new membranes and battery designs that have the potential to create batteries with megawatt capacities in about five years. Though they’ve got a long way to go to reach their desired capacity, this technology is a promising candidate for large-scale renewable power storage facilities.
Lead image by Himefrias