Lithium-ion batteries are playing an indispensable role in our everyday life, powering up everything from a cellphone to a pickup truck. But for cities of the future, we would need something more powerful, cost-effective and scalable to take care of its energy need, as the use of renewable electricity is becoming mainstream.
First developed by NASA for deep-space missions, redox-flow batteries can take on the job of storing electricity generated by solar panels, wind turbines, and even hydroelectric dams during their peak operating hours. As the supply for these source winds down during the off-peak windows, these high capacity batteries can kick in and power the grids.
Redox-flow batteries that use vanadium ions (V2+ and V3+) as charge carriers have many advantages. Unlike lithium, vanadium is much more abundant and less expensive to mine. Vanadium cells can last longer, some twenty years or even more after repeated usage. They retain their charging capacity over a long period of time and can be scaled up with ease.
Taking the lead in the game, China opened its first vanadium redox-flow battery factory in 2017. The manufacturing plant currently produces 300 megawatts’ worth of batteries annually. By next year, it will ramp up to producing 3 gigawatts, a capacity that matches the per-second output of a large natural gas power station.
Source: Seeker via Youtube