HPX invests in Pu Neng’s storage tech

Mianyan Huang, the newly appointed president of Pu Neng’s China operations, said the HPX investment would support the deployment of its vanadium battery storage technologies at utility-scale solar and wind projects throughout the country, as well as rural microgrid installations. ”We are ready to meet the need for low-cost energy storage in China,” Huang said in an online statement.

Pu Neng — which recently started selling its new Gen2 vanadium redox battery storage system — successfully wrapped up testing this year on an 8 MWh battery it installed at a solar/wind project that Chinese utility State Grid is operating near Beijing in Zhangbei, Hebei province. The company — formerly known as Prudent Energy — claims it has installed more than 20 MWh of systems throughout the world. It offers proprietary membrane, electrolyte and cell stack designs for flow technologies, which store energy in tanks of liquid electrolyte next to the cathode and anode cell stacks of batteries. Electrolyte passes over membranes in the stacks, adding and removing electrons in a chemical process that Pu Neng claims can be repeated almost infinitely.

“While lithium-based batteries are well suited to consumer electronics and electric vehicles, their lifetimes can be limited,” the company said, claiming that its vanadium redox batteries can withstand an “almost unlimited” amount of recharging. “This is an important factor when matching the daily demands of utility-scale solar and wind power generation.”

Vancouver-based HPX — a privately owned investment and exploration firm led by executives from Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto — noted the importance of vanadium production in China. “It has the world’s highest-quality vanadium resources,” said Eric Finlayson, president of HPX. “China and Pu Neng will be key contributors in the global transition to a clean energy economy.”

HPX’s investment in Pu Neng underscores growing interest in vanadium redox battery deployment in Asia, with Japan also emerging as a staging ground for a range of pilot projects. Earlier this year, Osaka-based Sumitomo Electric Industries finished installing a 125 kW vanadium redox flow battery in Taiwan. The Taiwan Power Research Institute is using the system to control peak demand and smooth out the variability of renewables such as solar.