Flow batteries en route for commercialisation. New technologies under development

Jofemar Energy, the division of Corporación Jofemar specialised in energy efficiency and storage, brought its Flow Grid project to a close last February with the presentation of the first version of their Zn-Br flow batteries. And it did so with promising results. The first versions have been designed, developed and tested at Jofemar’s facilities in Peralta, incorporating the latest improvements obtained including the use of nanotechnologies and the specific development of the main components for the electrochemical pairing. An output of 10 and 60 kWh, respectively, was achieved for operation in residential environments and smart grid integration.

The flow batteries are an electrochemical storage technology in a demo phase that is gradually approaching commercial phase. One of its distinguishing features is that this type of batteries can convert and store electrical energy as chemical energy and invert the process in a controlled way when required or necessary. This technology works as a result of the oxidation/reduction reaction produced by applying or taking an electric current from the two chemical species that oxidise and reduce, respectively, forming the REDOX system in a flow cell. These chemical species are called electrolytes. They are stored in external tanks and then pumped to the cell where the electrochemical reactions take place.

The main advantages of this technology are that they offer a high level of energy storage capacity for stationary, low cost and long lifetime applications. Compared to other technologies, they can also be fully discharged with no memory effect and without damaging the battery status so that its performance remains unaffected. Another factor to take into account is that the raw material is waterbased, which means no risk of flammability or explosion. In addition, its availability is far higher than that of other chemicals. The maintenance cost is low and is designed using highly available, low cost and recyclable materials. Moreover, the materials are environmentally-friendly thereby resulting in green, efficient technology. Read more…

Beatriz Ruiz
Technology Director, Jofemar Energy

Article published in: FuturENERGY April 2016