Flow Battery Shows Potential for Grid Storage

Renewable grideThe world’s next energy revolution is looming nearer.

In order to bolster this transformation, the U.S. Department of Energy has been funding 75 projects in the energy technology field, enabling cutting-edge research into energy conversion and storage. This effort is part of the DOE’s goal to “decarbonize” the U.S. energy infrastructure by the middle of the country.

One of the most promising projects funded by the DOE is led by ECS member Michael Aziz, where he and his team from Harvard are addressing challenges in grid energy storage.

Energy storage has become one of the largest barriers in the widespread implementation of renewables. By offering a cost-effective, efficient answer to energy storage, the issues of intermittency in power sources such as wind and solar could be answered.

Aziz and his team are addressing issues in energy storage with the development of a flow battery based on inexpensive organic molecules in a water-based electrolyte. The team is focusing on using quinone molecules, which can be found in such plant sources as rhubarb or even oil waste. The quinone molecules allow energy to be stored in a water-based solution at room temperature.

Aziz recently discussed some of his work in quinon-bromide flow batteries as part of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society Focus Issue on Redox Flow Batteries-Reversible Fuel Cells.

“We have a fighting chance of bringing down the capital cost to $100 a kilowatt hour, and that will change the world. It could complement wind and solar on a very large scale,” Aziz told the Daily Telegraph.

This from the Daily Telegraph:

The design is delightfully simple. It uses a tank of water. You could have one at home in Los Angeles, Lagos, Buenos Aires, Delhi, or Guangzhou, storing solar power in the day to drive your air-conditioning at night. It could be scaled up for a 500 megawatt wind farm.

Read the full article.

The use of flow batteries such as this could have a huge impact on overall grid energy storage, offering a potential to drop cost and toxicity levels.

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