Energy Storage Systems (BESS) – Vanadium Flow Batteries

Vanadium flow batteries or more accurately called Vanadium redox (and redox flow) battery (VRB). Just one of a number of rechargeable flow batteries that are currently available for Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). From as early as 1980 this type of battery was successfully demonstrated worldwide.

Vanadium flow batteries has just one electroactive element use vanadium ions in different states of oxidation to store chemical potential energy. The battery has just one electroactive element instead of two.

"Cellcube-vanadium flow batteries

The main advantages and disadvantages of vanadium flow batteries are:

Advantages:

  • Almost unlimited capacity (by using larger storage tanks).
  • Completely discharged for long periods, without any adverse effects.
  • Longevity of cycles.
  • Also, the ability to recharge by replacing the electrolyte (if no power source was available to charge it).
  • Importantly, no permanent damage would be caused if the electrolytes were accidentally mixed.

Disadvantages:

  • Above all, high initial cost.
  • Lower energy-to-volume ratio.
  • Therefore, a complex system, compared to VRLA and Lithium ion batteries.

Never the less, the Energy Storage System market that Vanadium flow batteries are able to achieve, will much depend on technological advances. Subsequently increasing power density and reducing the cost. Furthermore, Billionaire and Philanthropist Bill Gates has put his money behind flow batteries must count for something. In short, the next few years are interesting times for battery storage systems.

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