Finkel backs unheralded Aussie battery tech companies to go global

By Luke Housego for Financial Review
As investment in energy storage continues to grow around the world, Australia’s chief scientist Dr. Alan Finkel says a lesser-known technology has the potential to play a significant role in the energy storage market, with Australian companies well-positioned to lead the charge.While lithium-ion technology has gained a high-profile in the investor community for use in mobile energy storage applications such as electric cars and smartphones, Dr. Finkel said flow batteries, which use an alternative process and materials, were gaining traction and presented an opportunity for Australian providers.“Flow batteries are potentially going to be a big contributor in the stationary energy storage, like the grid-level stationary energy storage,” Dr. Finkel, told The Australian Financial Review on the sidelines of the APPEA conference in Brisbane last week.

Dr Alan Finkel says while flow batteries have been around a while, they have attracted less attention. Attila Csaszar

Flow batteries work with the use of a liquid electrolyte stored in two separate tanks on either side of a membrane. The liquid “flows” through the two separate networks past the membrane, driving the chemical process that generates electricity.

Dr. Finkel said while flow batteries would work in electric vehicles or electronics, it would be particularly competitive in larger-scale applications.

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