World News – AU – Interest in vanadium flow is growing


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The range of battery storage technologies to support solar energy supply is expanding to accommodate a variety of new applications. VSUN has just carried out its first power play for vanadium redox flow batteries in the off-grid residential real estate market.

The 10 kW / 100 kWh VRFB from V-Flow has twice the capacity of the system installed in Hyden in the southwest of WA.

VSUN Energy, an organization founded with the express goal of raising awareness of the benefits of vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB), has set itself the task of selling systems using this technology. The first household case study came about because equipping a new farmhouse with a VRFB-based standalone power system was cheaper than connecting that rural home to the grid – regardless of the savings that come with having the farm its first quarter with no utility bills lived through.

The standalone power supply system (PLC) tailored to this property consists of 12 kW solar PV, a VRFB with 5 kW / 30 kWh and a maximum discharge of 7 kW. a Selectronic inverter made in Australia and an 18 kVa diesel redundancy backup system. The PLC is intended to be an uninterrupted, clean and safe source of energy, mainly generated by direct and stored solar energy.

VSUN Business Development Manager, Zamien Sumich, told pv magazine that the system is currently more than sufficient to provide a self-sufficient household with a cool space to keep the family in between visits to remote shops and some farm machinery can be supplied.

But there are other aspects of vanadium flow batteries that make them suitable for remote or rural living in Australia. According to Surich, for example, they can be operated over a wide temperature range without the need for heating or cooling.

They are not flammable and therefore cannot start a house fire or a bush fire. In this regard, they are also a step further than the grid connection between poles and wires – even accumulated dust when mixed with rainwater on power cables can lead to fires on the poles, which can cause major fires or power outages.

VRFBs also offer practically unlimited cycling, making them ideal for mining applications where constant power supply is vital and variable renewable energy generation often requires quick battery response. and for VPPs where the operator participates in FCAS or arbitrage markets and may wish to cycle their fleet of household batteries several times a day, such use would radically shorten the life of the more popular battery technologies today.

In addition, Sumich says: « The internal electrolyte solution in VRFB batteries does not deteriorate », so that they can be stored long after the usual guarantee period of 20 years. Since the battery is a machine, some moving parts, such as pumps that move the electrolytes through a core of positive and negative electrodes, may need to be replaced. However, remote monitoring and annual maintenance checks can ensure continuous operation. A VRFB shifts vanadium ions between different oxidation states to store and release chemical energy.

Although VRFBs stay slightly cool, there is some heat in the Australian vanadium field. Australian mining technology company TNG Limited, which owns the world’s most advanced vanadium project, the Mount Peake Vanadium-Titanium-Iron Project, 230 km north of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, also launched a new Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) business this month. founded The company is committed to rapidly expanding its green energy sector.

VSUN’s ASX-listed parent company, Australian Vanadium Limited (ASX: AVL), intends to develop a primary vanadium mine in Western Australia that was designated « major project status » by the federal government in 2019. « They are about 18 months to two years away from that, » says Sumich, « but they founded VSUN Energy to develop a secondary market in battery technology for vanadium, which is primarily used for steel hardening. « .

Vanadium Australia wants to be vertically integrated into the local market, says Sumich. He explains, “Right now you are mining and there is some processing on land in Australia, but most of it is being shipped offshore to Southeast Asia to add value to the US market. ”

But with 30% to 60% of the CapEx of VFRB batteries concentrated in the electrolyte: “By digging it up locally, processing it locally, and making the electrolyte locally, you’re adding value to the Australian economy, what a big deal right now is for job creation, ”he says.

VSUN is agnostic towards the VRFB battery supplier. On larger storage projects, it has worked with EPCs and solar providers to promote their understanding of the VRFB functions. “Our main focus,” says this business development manager, “was creating a demand for the electrolyte that goes into these batteries. ”

VSUN now works as an integrator and selects vanadium batteries from various manufacturers for smaller and larger applications.

The Hyden battery is supplied by V-Flow Tech, a Singapore-based manufacturer. VSUN Energy will now sell V-Flow products with a size of 5 kW / 30 kWh and a service life of 25 years independent of the grid and in residential areas the settings.

A potential disadvantage of using vanadium battery technology in residential areas is system size. The system used at Hyden measures 1. 5 x 1. 7 meters by 2 meters high and weighing approximately three tons, which has little impact in rural areas but can be more challenging in suburbs. However, VSUN believes that it is a long-lived infrastructure that is displacing other infrastructures like poles and wires.

Sumich estimates that there are currently seven or eight vanadium flow batteries in use in Australia, including one in an off-grid application on Heron Island in Queensland. In Japan, a 60 MWh battery has been shown to be the vanadium salt that can run for five years without degradation. The world’s largest VRFB with 800 MWh is to be completed in China this year.

The technology is scalable, with the Hyden Farm application currently being delivered in a single-phase design. However, like the solar system, the battery can be expanded and / or redesigned for three-phase supply as property demands increase.

The V-Flow battery is intended for small to medium-sized off-grid applications, and VSUN is working with a China-based VRFB manufacturer to provide another residential grade system. With Horizon Power, projects are in progress that will supply remote communities with off-grid energy. And it works with mining companies to educate them about the high cycle tolerance of VRFB technology.

« Overall, » says Sumich, « we want to build an understanding in the marketplace that this technology has its place, and there are applications where it is better suited than other technologies. « . ”

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Vanadium Redox Battery, VSUN Energy Pty Ltd, System, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy

World News – AU – Interest in vanadium flow is growing
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