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Flow Batteries: Changing the Economy with Renewable Energy

This entry was posted in Energy Harvesting , renewable energy and flow batteries on May 11, 2020 by II-VI Marlow Industries

Renewable energy in flow batteries

It’s no secret everyone has been affected by COVID-19. And unfortunately it's impacted our energy sources around the world. As we progress through these uncertain times and look to rebuild our economy, renewable energy has been given an even greater platform to showcase its possibilities. 

Let’s look to the future of energy storing with flow batteries. 

Flow batteries are rechargeable electroactive fuel cells. They flow through electrochemical cells to make chemical energy into electricity. To do this, they use a positive cathode tank and a negative anode tank with electrolyte liquids in them. 

With innovations, flow batteries can become a practical source for renewable energy storage.

Flow Battery Design Elements

Historically, flow batteries have been created with materials like lithium-ion batteries to vanadium-based batteries. However, these items don’t have a long life and can be expensive and toxic. Older lithium-ion models are typically used for medium to large scale projects, but a new design of the flow battery is expected to produce greater efficiency.

Energy efficient models

University of Southern Carolina created a flow battery from organic material and carbon-based material. This new, sustainable model contains anthraquinone disulfonic acid (AQDS) solution,  iron sulfate, and carbon dioxide. Iron sulphate is inexpensive and widely available, while AQDS can be manufactured from carbon-based material, making this a value model in the marketplace.

Using this organic material rather than lithium and vanadium is more sustainable, inexpensive, and long lasting.

While these new organic models are large improvements, many are still working towards charging efficiencies. Researchers at the University of Cambridge also found that charging flow batteries at a low voltage will slow the degradation rate allowing for a longer life span. 

These combined studies allow flow batteries to capture renewable energy in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings for more than 25 years.

The Future of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is the focal point of many economic discussions and developments. Once cities, countries, and economies begin to reopen, there will be a great need for energy storage options. Flow batteries offer scalability, recyclability, low cost, and fast response time. 

With this change to carbon-based material, flow batteries can power store renewable energy and produce electricity for a significant amount of time.

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