BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems) Research is a research and development company with the primary aim of breaking down the barriers which are limiting the adoption of large-scale Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries by Australian industries
The Current State of the Battery Industry
The battery market in 2020 was valued at over $55 billion. This is expected to grow at a compound growth rate of more than 13% per year to support the 2/3rds of global power generation capacity added each year which will come from wind and solar. While most of the current battery storage market is dominated by lithium- ion and lead- acid batteries, these batteries are specialised for short-duration storage (approximately 4 hours). They are not feasible for long duration storage (>4 hours) and experience significant capacity degradation over a number of cycles. Because of the well-documented intermittency of renewable energy sources, there is increasing demand for long-duration energy storage solutions such as the vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB).
Why Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries?
The last 10 years have been a watershed moment for the battery industry, with advancements arriving thick and fast and quickly replacing older outdated technologies. However, many of these popular batteries, such as the lithium-ion battery, present an array of issues that limit their usefulness. A few examples of these issues include significant safety concerns, capacity loss over a relatively short number of cycles, and environmental concerns regarding waste.
Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries may present the solution to several of these concerns. VRFB's:
Last for up to 30 years with no significant capacity loss
Are an extremely safe energy storage solution
Contain a vanadium electrolyte that can be used and reused with a near-infinite life, resulting in a small environmental footprint
Can overrate to 200% power
Can be depleted to 0% charge, and fully charged to 100%
What is limiting the adoption of VRFBs?
Given the described advantages of VRFBs it may seem that adopting this technology is inevitable. However, uptake of the technology has remained a slow process due to a number of limitations and inefficiencies identified with the battery. These include:
The high initial capital requirement of the battery is predominantly a result of the high price of vanadium
Poor energy-to-volume ratio compared to standard storage batteries
Poor round trip efficiency
The sensitivity of the battery to the climatic conditions
The lack of large-scale proof of concept batteries that are required to demonstrate new potential use cases
Policy and regulatory boundaries
How will BESS address these concerns?
BESS will endeavour to address these concerns through its staged research and development program with the support of its key partners...
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