Vanadium Flow Battery Technologies hold Potential For Stabilizing Grid, Expanding RE Sources

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Technology designed to bolster resilience of the electric grid and provide a way to store large amounts of energy from renewable sources is available, thanks to researchers from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

The research involves vanadium redox flow batteries—large batteries designed to store massive amounts of energy for long periods. These batteries hold the potential to store energy from renewable wind and solar sources and to make that energy available when the sun isn’t shining or the wind stops blowing.

“This emerging grid-scale storage technology has great commercial and energy security potential. We are eager to partner with additional industry partners to bring this technology to market and to support expanded use of renewable energies on the grid,” said Allan Tuan, commercialization manager for energy, grid and advanced fuel research at PNNL.

PNNL has already partnered with two companies that are bringing this technology to market. Now, a third and final semi-exclusive battery technology license is available.

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In addition to the vanadium redox flow battery technology license, PNNL has developed a related, high-performance mixed-acid electrolyte that can store more energy than many other technologies, over a wide range of temperatures. The electrolyte technology, compatible with redox flow battery technology, is currently licensed and available on a non-exclusive basis to chemical manufacturers.

“PNNL offers technologies on a competitive basis to potential industry partners with the goal of enhancing national security and providing taxpayers the maximum return on impact,” said Christina Lomasney, director of commercialization at PNNL. “Once we have selected licensing partners, PNNL collaborates closely with them to support and improve the success of their market offering.”

PNNL has a successful record partnering with U.S. industry to bring technology to market. From the first optical disc recorder technology to the millimeter-wave technologies used to enhance traveler safety in airports all over the world, PNNL is both a pioneer in discovery and in partnership-based market deployment of scientific research.

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Vanadium redox flow battery research is one facet of PNNL’s historic strengths in grid technology and energy storage. PNNL is the future home of the Grid Storage Launchpad, where PNNL researchers, their industry counterparts and others will work together to explore large-scale energy storage for the grid. The effort is designed to boost clean energy adoption and make the nation’s power grid more resilient, secure and flexible.

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