Chinese government’s strategic push for energy storage to yield large flow battery projects

Chinese government’s strategic push for energy storage to yield large flow battery projects

Date: Nov 08, 2017

Pu Neng flow batteries. The company, formerly known as Prudent Energy, received investment from Canadian company High Power Exploration (HPX), earlier this year. Image: Pu Neng.

A project demonstrating the integration of energy storage onto grid networks in Hubei, China, will see the first phase of a 10MW / 40MWh project built by Pu Neng, a vanadium flow battery manufacturer.

The first phase of the Hubei Zaoyang Storage Integration Demonstration Project will be a 3MW / 12MWh vanadium redox flow battery (VRB) in Zaoyang, Hubei Province. The battery storage system will be used to assist the integration of power from large-scale photovoltaics (PV) locally.

While the project sounds fairly significantly sized compared to other flow battery systems around the world, according to Pu Neng, the 40MWh project itself is going to soon be superseded in size in Hubei by a mammoth 100MW / 500MWh energy storage system that is expected to “be the cornerstone of a new smart energy grid” in the province, where it will fulfil the role of a peaking power plant, stabilising the local network.

Pu Neng signed a deal to develop the first phase of that project with Hubei Pingfan Vanadium Energy Storage Technology Company, a subsidiary of Hubei Pingfan, a mining and industrial metals and minerals company which is growing its interest in vanadium for energy storage. Pingfan apparently has more than one million tonnes of vanadium at one of its own reserves.

Perhaps more significantly, Hubei Pingfan was listed in the Chinese government’s 12th five-year plan of national strategy, issued in 2011, as a national pilot enterprise for vanadium. For the Hubei Zaoyang project, Pu Neng and Pingfan will develop vanadium electrolytes from local sources, which the project partners said will also help establish supply chains for the metal for future projects. The first phase of the project begins this month, for completion early next year.

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