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Achieving sustainable energy through redox flow batteries

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article image Redox flow batteries are suitable for power storage in sustainable energy applications

The renewable energy solutions market has received a boost with the promise shown by redox flow batteries in producing sustainable energy.

Redox flow batteries are rechargeable batteries that operate by storing electricity chemically via an electrolyte solution. Though sustainable energy applications are certainly not the only uses for redox flow batteries, they are among the most important and widely studied uses of the batteries.

Conventional sources of sustainable energy such as wind power and solar power are unpredictable in terms of assured power generation. Another problem lies in the inability to take advantage of the abundant amounts of sun or wind at any time.

Taking full advantage of the resource can be wasteful if that amount of energy production is not needed when the resources are available. Redox flow batteries allow providers to take advantage of times of abundant sustainable energy and continue providing power when the sources are not so abundant.

Their higher storage capacities and very low rate of self-discharge make redox flow batteries suitable for power storage in sustainable energy applications.

Current redox flow batteries are limited by their relatively low energy density of about 35 Watt hours per kilogram (35 Wh/Kg) compared to current lead acid batteries with an energy density of about 40 Wh/Kg and lithium ion batteries offering up to 200 Wh/Kg.

Advances are being made in redox flow battery technology to soon bring the energy density of redox flow batteries to a level comparable to that of current lithium ion batteries.

Redox batteries are already being used around the world to achieve sustainable energy including a wind power project in Hokkaido, Japan that uses a 275 kilowatt redox flow battery system to balance power distribution, in addition to systems in Tasmania, Utah and several other places for solar power applications.

Increase in efficiency and output of sustainable energy production will go a long way towards eliminating the need for non-sustainable energy sources. The ability to store the sustainable power generated to ensure continuous availability is also essential, which can be met by redox flow batteries.   

LX Group is an innovative electronics design solutions company specialising in the design of embedded systems and wireless technologies.

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