Global Spread of New Vanadium Electrolyte Processing Technology for Energy Storage

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Renewable energy is developing quickly and the costs of production are dropping rapidly. But for two of the major technologies, wind and solar, a key challenge to overcome is evening out the “boom and bust” nature of supply. The ability to store power when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, then allows that power to be used when production is lower.

One technology gaining worldwide momentum for grid-scale or area-scale energy storage is the vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB). Battery technologies have a number of issues to overcome, including scale, lifespan, and cost. VRFBs are now cost-competitive, and compared to lithium battery technology VRFBs are both more scalable and have a longer lifespan (up to ten times the number of cycles).

Chester-based C-Tech Innovation has developed market-leading vanadium electrolyte production equipment that can reliably produce industrial quantities. Purity of the vanadium electrolyte is key to the running costs of VRFBs. Traditional methods use a wet chemistry approach which involves the addition of reagents which reduce the vanadium feedstock to the required V(III):V(IV) ratio. This wet chemistry method introduces impurities into the system which can affect VRFB lifetimes.

C-Tech’s method, by contrast, uses electrochemical technology capable of manufacturing vanadium electrolyte without the addition of potentially harmful chemical reductants. C-Tech’s non-chemical approach is market-tested at both pilot and production-scale, and is rapidly becoming the method of choice in vanadium electrolyte production facilities around the world.

To learn more about C-Tech Innovation’s technology, visit http://www.ctechinnovation.com/chemical-processing/vanadium-electrolyte-production/

Andrew Fairley