Australia has taken another step toward greater use of battery energy storage thanks to a new 30 kWh StorEn vanadium flow battery that was installed for use in a renewable hydrogen plant at Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
The battery, which was provided through a partnership between StorEn Technologies Inc.* and Multicom Resources Limited, will allow researchers in Australia to develop safety standards for the future use of vanadium flow batteries as well as helping to bring the technology to Australia.
Vanadium flow batteries offer a number of benefits when it comes to energy storage, such as:
- 100 percent capacity retention
- Long life of 25 years or more
- An ability to increase capacity simply through tank expansion
The Future of Energy Storage
The many features of vanadium flow batteries could make them ideal for grid-scale energy storage, which is something that Australia is looking to expand in the coming years.
In fact, GreentechMedia reports that Australia is “set to add 1.2 gigawatt-hours of energy storage capacity in 2020, more than double the 499 megawatt-hours installed in 2019.” Of these, residential energy storage is booming with “an estimated 581 megawatt-hours of behind-the-meter (BTM).”
Already, the Australian state of Victoria is making advances on what will be the largest battery storage system in the Southern Hemisphere when it’s finished. Meanwhile, Energy Storage News says that performance reports for two large-scale battery energy storage systems in Victoria showed that they met or exceeded expectations over the past year.
This installation is a crucial step towards a manufacturing plant for vanadium flow batteries, in association with Freedom Energy (a subsidiary of Multicom) to manufacture StorEn’s batteries under license for distribution in the region.
Lithium vs. Vanadium
One of the biggest differences between lithium-ion batteries and vanadium flow batteries is that lithium begins to degrade after a few thousands of cycles, causing a performance and capacity decrease. Vanadium, on the other hand, can go through tens of thousands of cycles, or over 25 years, with no capacity degradation or decrease in performance. Vanadium flow batteries are also close to 100% recyclable.
Introduction of Vanadium is a Milestone for Australia
For their part, StorEn Tech officials said they are excited to be involved in the Australia project and to bring the many benefits of vanadium flow battery storage to the country.
The 30 kWh vanadium flow battery was installed at the Redlands Research Facility. The installation was funded under the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s H2Xport Project, as part of the work of the National Battery Testing Centre (NBTC), a flagship project of the Future Battery Industries CRC, a federal organization supporting the development of energy storage technologies with the goal of establishing Australia as a technology producer and exporter.
Peter Talbot, a professor at QUT, said about the new battery — “vanadium flow battery technology promises safe, affordable and long-lasting energy storage for both households and industry.”
This development in Australia may be another sign that vanadium flow batteries are the future of energy storage, not just there but around the world.