Is Vanadium the Energy Storage Solution of the Future? — Part 3

Date: Oct 16, 2018

Part three of our vanadium series looks at some of the companies using vanadium to build residential, commercial and industrial-sized vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs). 

It also looks at the costs associated with integrating VRFBs into an energy system, as well as the costs associated with sourcing vanadium.

As our previous part one and part two vanadium articles explain, the technology inside VRFBs has greatly advanced since the early 1980s. In the decades since, size has scaled down, as have prices, making VRFBs an increasingly viable option for residential, commercial and industrial energy storage.

We briefly discussed the large-scale VRFBs designed to power entire energy grids that are currently under construction in China. However, there are a number of companies designing, creating and implementing smaller-scale VRFBs that could potentially transform the way cities, communities and homes are powered. Read on to learn more about some of them.

Storage solutions

Last year, when Puerto Rico was plunged into darkness following Hurricane Maria, it took a full 11 months before the entire country had electricity, a timeframe that could have been drastically reduced if the country’s energy grid was powered using energy stored in a VRFB system.

CellCube (CSE:CUBE), an energy storage company specializing in modular VRFB units, believes its product could have prevented the mass casualties and months of darkness that resulted from Puerto Rico’s dated and insufficient grid.

“With our installation base we have covered the universal capability of flow batteries,” said Stefan Schauss, executive director at CellCube.

Toronto-based CellCube has been developing VRFBs for a decade and has installations in 24 countries around the globe. The majority of the company’s VRFB energy storage systems are installed outdoors.

“They work in very severe conditions, everything from high salt in an outdoor installation on a North Sea island that gets salt spray every day for 24 hours,” noted Schauss. “To an installation in Siberia where it is -46 degrees, to Abu Dhabi, the flip side, where it’s +70 degrees.”

VRFBs, unlike lithium-ion batteries, can perform without degrading or raising safety concerns in a wide variety of settings, making them an ideal choice for residential, commercial and even industrial use.

While Puerto Rico remained dark for almost a year, Schauss sees the recovery as an opportunity for the country to modernize its entire system.

“They really have the chance under the US to have the most modern grid,” he added.

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