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By Jude Hislop October 7, 2015
Boston-based, Vionx Energy has announced an ecosystem of companies to commercialize a breakthrough vanadium flow storage system it says will transform how modern power grids are managed.
The company said in a press release that its storage design boasts an in-situ process that maintains full storage capacity over a 20-year period – unlike other grid storage solutions such as lithium ion or lead acid. The result is a safe, long-running, affordable and flexible grid storage solution that provides utilities with added infrastructure resiliency and defers aging asset replacement costs.
Vionx says six global companies – United Technologies Corp. (UTC), Starwood Energy Group, Siemens, 3M, VantagePoint Capital Partners and Jabil – have joined forces to license, finance, manufacture and deploy the storage system.
Vionx Energy has installed a large-scale vanadium flow battery storage system to the U.S. Army at Fort Devens
The technology was engineered by researchers at UTC and is designed to make a long-duration, long-life grid-scale battery practical and cost efficient.
According to the Vionx website: Traditional Vanadium Redox Flow batteries employ a range of components that include tanks of anolyte and catholyte fluids and a power cell at the center of the system. How these fluids “flow through” or “flow by” the power cell is at the heart of system performance—and this is the area UTC focused their efforts. Their breakthrough was a new process improvement within the cell called the “Interdigitated Flow Field”, by which the most efficient flow-through and flow-by processes are integrated to generate a much higher power density (2X) at lower pressure. This increased power output combined with lower material costs now makes our Vanadium Redox Flow batteries extremely competitive when compared with other long-term grid battery options.
Unlike lithium ion batteries that degrade over time, our power cell has a patent pending in-situ rejuvenation process that recovers a 3% performance loss every few thousand cycles for the life of the system. Our X-FLOWTM Technology can scale power and energy capacity independently, so its run-time can be simply increased by adding more fluids and its power can be increased by adding more battery stacks.
Vionx will market, sell and service the technology, which is targeted to utility scale applications in transmission and distribution, microgrid and island markets.
“Recent changes to the energy system are creating completely new challenges for distribution grids,” said Dan Wishnick, Siemens Energy’s sales and business development manager.
“The collection of unique and prominent companies working with Vionx Energy is a testament to what Vionx’s technology can accomplish, and we’re excited to play a role in this new venture.”
“Vionx’s energy storage system represents a significant advance in flow battery technology, and 3M is pleased to have the opportunity to draw upon our broad fuel cell, membrane and electrode assembly expertise to enable lower cost and longer life electrode assemblies for flow batteries,” said Jeffrey Hohn, 3M’s VP of Renewable Energy.
“We view this technology as a key enabler for improved grid resiliency and the continued deployment of sustainable, renewable generation.”
“Business disruption across the energy sector is accelerating at record pace,” said John Dargan, Jabil’s senior VP of corporate development. “Vionx’s new flow battery technology will represent a leap forward for grid storage technology.
Vionx Energy says it has recently delivered a large-scale storage system to the U.S. Army at Fort Devens in Massachusetts and is poised to announce additional projects in the coming weeks.