Vanadium is expensive, although the price fluctuates widely – currently $ 11,000 to $ 15,000 / tonne of vanadium pentoxide. Proponents, however, claim that vanadium flow batteries have the potential to solve the renewable energy disruption.
StorEn Tech delivers first of its kind vanadium flow batteries to Australia
19th December 2020
Australia has taken another step towards greater use of battery storage thanks to a new one 30 kWh StorEn vanadium flow battery This was installed for use in a renewable hydrogen facility at Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
The battery, made available through a partnership between StorEn Technologies Inc. * and Multicom Resources Limited, will allow researchers in Australia to develop safety standards for future use of vanadium flow batteries and bring the technology to Australia.
The many properties of vanadium flow batteries could make them ideal for grid-scale energy storage, which Australia is looking to expand in the years to come.
Peter Talbot, professor at QUT, said of the new battery: "Vanadium flow battery technology promises safe, affordable and long-lasting energy storage for households and industry."
Vanadium has an energy density of 15-25 Wh / l. To secure a 1 GW renewable system for one day, you need:
24 x 1 GW = 24 GWh storage or 24,000,000,000 Wh / 25 Wh / L = 960 million liters of vanadium electrolyte – let's say worth a few billion dollars.
An expensive battery, but not an unimaginable expense.
Of course, a single day of backup capacity is nowhere near enough. Wind droughts can last for weeks or even months. So if you want to achieve reliability in fossil fuel generators, you need more than a few billion dollars worth of electrolyte.
The electrolyte may become much more expensive as you negotiate your battery purchase agreement. The global vanadium market is small at around 80,000 tons per year. An attempt to buy several hundred thousand tons of vanadium to build a 1 GW battery would have a significant impact on world market prices.
Assuming somehow you are getting enough vanadium for your battery, your vanadium flow battery electrolyte must not overheat or freeze. Your new battery complex therefore requires extensive air conditioning, which impairs storage efficiency.
Vanadium has other important industrial uses. Vanadium is used as a steel additive in the manufacture of high-strength structural steel and is also an important component of steel steel alloys in military quality and of critical steel components that are exposed to high stress, such as B. crankshafts for motor vehicles. China is a major buyer in the global vanadium market.