Vanadium Redox Flow Battery: Sizing of VRB in electrified heavy construction equipment

By Nathan Zimmerman for Malardalen University Sweden
Abstract [en]

In an effort to reduce global emissions by electrifying vehicles and machines with internal combustion engines has led to the development of batteries that are more powerful and efficient than the common lead-acid battery.  One of the most popular batteries being used for such an installation is lithium ion, but due to its short effective usable lifetime, charging time, and costs has driven researcher to other technologies to replace it.  Vanadium redox flow batteries have come into the spotlight recently as a means of replacing rechargeable batteries in electric vehicles and has previously be used mainly to store energy for load leveling.  It possesses many qualities that would be beneficial to electrify vehicles.  The battery has the ability for power and energy to be sized independently which is not dissimilar to internal combustion vehicles.  It also has the potential for a tolerance to low discharges, fast response time, and can quickly be refueled by replacing the electrolyte; just like is done when a car refuels at the gas station.

The purpose of the study is to determine the possibility of using vanadium redox flow batteries to power heavy construction equipment, a wheel loader, with a finite amount of space available for implementation.  A model has been designed in MATLAB to determine how long the battery could last under typical applications for the wheel loader which needs a peak power of 200 kW.  From the volume available it has been determined that the battery can be installed with an energy capacity of 148 kWh.  The results of the model show that vanadium redox flow batteries can be used to power a wheel loader but due to the limiting energy density and cell components it remains to be impractical.

Click above icon for the PDF Full Version