European scientists want to develop hybrid vanadium redox flow battery with supercapacitor

By Ralph Diermann for PV Magazine

European scientists are designing a new type of redox flow storage system aimed at flexibly balancing power grids in the event of critical conditions. Funded by the EU, the research project is being coordinated by the Landshut University of Applied Sciences and runs until 2023.

In the HyFlow research project, 11 partners from seven European countries have come together to develop a hybrid redox flow storage system that can cover both high performance and energy requirements. To do this, the scientists want to combine a high-performance vanadium redox flow battery with a supercapacitor.

The EU is funding HyFlow with €4 million until 2023. The project is coordinated by the Landshut University of Applied Sciences. Also taking part in the endeavour are the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Bavarian Research Alliance.

“A redox-flow battery has a large storage capacity, but can only be charged and discharged slowly,” explained Karl-Heinz Pettinger, scientific director of the Energy Technology Center at Landshut University of Applied Sciences and coordinator of the project. “The supercapacitor, on the other hand, has short charging times with a low energy density. Hybridization is intended to create an energy storage system that combines the advantages of both systems: high storage capacity and high performance.”

The hybrid system should be able to flexibly balance the electricity and energy requirements in the event of critical grid conditions such as high load or generation peaks — whether for seconds or entire days.

The hybrid concept is also intended to ensure a longer service life, a high degree of adaptability and potentially lower costs. An innovative management system uses computer analysis and control algorithms to ensure a high level of control and flexibility. The researchers said they were paying particular attention to sustainability and that a recycling concept was also being developed.

The idea for the project arose in 2019 on the fringes of a conference organized by the FSTORE research platform, where the first contacts to possible partners were made.

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