Storage Highlights 2020 – Megawatt Winner: JenaBatteries


Built in partnership with Messe Düsseldorf and Energy Storage Europe, pv magazine’s annual Energy Storage Highlights 2020 special edition is hot off the press. Celebrate this year’s top five awardees at our Insight panel session with discussion among our Gigawatt winners and panel of expert jurors.

Introducing Megawatt Winner…


Metal-free for greater price stability and independence

Redox flow batteries are a well-known alternative to their lithium-ion counterparts. Currently, most of the ones that are being built contain vanadium. JenaBatteries is replacing the metal to achieve greater price stability and independence.

In this year’s energy storage highlights, there were surprisingly few submissions for redox-flow batteries, which become more competitive with lithium-ion batteries at longer storage durations. In the 2018 pv magazine energy storage special edition, consulting company Apricum demonstrated the best way to calculate the threshold of the corresponding “storage hour cutoff.” For solar power generated during the day and consumed at night, redox flow batteries are a viable alternative.

Most of today’s redox flow systems use vanadium-based electrolytes. Yet experts are constantly discussing the availability of the element, and whether the price will increase as more redox flow batteries are installed.

pv magazine Storage Highlights Ceremony

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You are invited to join us online for the pv magazine Storage Highlights Ceremony on March 11, 10am – 11:30am (CET)!

The Energy Storage Europe Düsseldorf has been postponed indefinitely due to Coronavirus. Consequently, we will not be able to host our Insight event live onsite. However, in the age of digitalization we will host the Storage Highlights Ceremony as a webinar.

The five Gigawatt Winners will pitch their winning applications to the expert jury panel with a subsequent discussion by the independent leading analysts.

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This question of uncertainty is shared by Olaf Conrad, the managing director of JenaBatteries, and this is why he is working on alternatives. For the company’s submission in its work on “a metal-free redox flow battery,” it achieved a spot in the Highlights among the Megawatt winners. JenaBatteries uses electrolytes containing ammonia, acetone, and pyridine, which are all currently produced from abundant petrochemicals.

The company sees the profitability threshold for its technology occurring at electrolyte production volumes of 1,000 metric tons or more per year, which would correspond to approximately 100 MWh of additional storage capacity per year. The producer expects to reach this volume in 2024, bringing the cost of the battery to less than EUR 500 per kWh, at a C-rate of 0.25. A capacity of 400 kWh would then translate into 100 kW of charging and discharging capacity.

Image: JenaBatteries (Left to right): uncharged catholyte, charged catholyte, uncharged anolyte, charged anolyte. The organic electrolytes change color depending on their charge state.

A typical question surrounding battery technologies is the fundamental issue of durability. “We do not yet have exact data on service life,” says Conrad, but published research suggests that the electrolyte lasts 10,000 cycles. The company’s own studies indicate that 80% of capacity would still be available after the targeted service life of 20 years and 10,000 cycles. In principle, the electrolyte could also be recycled, but Conrad expects that in 10 years’ time, the production costs of the electrolyte would be so low that this would not be worthwhile.

The company has just announced the completion of its first fully installed system in the field. With an output of 30 kW at a capacity of 100 kWh, it is part of the EU Horizon2020 EnergyKeeper project. The first published findings related to the new system are expected to be released in the course of this year.

Aside from JenaBatteries, other companies are also working on redox flow batteries, developing metal-free alternatives to vanadium electrolytes. Olaf Conrad sees his company at an advantage over its competitors – particularly in regards to stability, and in terms of the capital required to rapidly expand production volume. However, the vanadium price development is not so clear cut. In 2018, it went up, but the peak in price was only for a relatively short duration. The industry will also be keeping a close eye on metal-containing electrolytes that use widely available metals, such as iron in place of vanadium, that are produced on a large scale.


Xavier Daval | CEO, kiloWattsol

Xavier Daval is an international solar and storage expert, and the CEO of French solar technical advisory firm kiloWattsol SAS, which he founded in 2007. Daval is an electrical engineer and the former EMEA director of a NYSE-listed manufacturer in the electronics industry. He is also the vice president of French renewable energy association Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables-SER, the chair of its solar commission SER-SOLER, and the director of the Global Solar Council (GSC).

James Frith | Head of Energy Storage, Bloomberg NEF

James Frith spearheads the energy storage team at BloombergNEF. He leads the company’s coverage on energy storage technologies and the lithium battery supply chain to provide insights on technology, markets, policies, and regulation. He leverages his background in battery research to provide key insights into the chemistries, applications, and markets for lithium-ion batteries.

Mark Higgins | COO, Strategen

Mark Higgins is the COO of Strategen, a professional services firm focused on market development for a decarbonized grid. Higgins also serves on the board of the Vehicle-Grid Integration Council, a nonprofit organization committed to advancing the role of smart EV charging. His past experience includes serving as the director of utility west at SunEdison, vice president of finance for Hu Honua Bioenergy, and Pacific Gas & Electric’s lead for key policy areas, including interconnection and transmission planning.

Julian Jansen | Senior Market Analyst - Solar & Energy Storage, IHS Markit Technology

Julian Jansen is a research manager at IHS Markit Technology, leading the group’s global research on stationary energy storage to provide deep insights on the key value drivers and emerging business models accelerating storage deployment across Europe and North America. Jansen also delivers strategic advice for bespoke projects on a range of new energy technologies.

Florian Mayr | Partner, Apricum

Florian Mayr is a partner at Apricum, where he provides expertise on energy storage, renewables, and e-mobility. Mayr supports companies around the world to advance clean technologies by providing counsel for strategy and transactions in the sector. Prior to joining Apricum, Mayr spent eight years in senior positions at McKinsey & Company and German utility RWE.

Nina Munzke | Teamleader Stationary Energy Storage Systems, Karlsruhe institute of Technology

Nina Munzke has worked at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, serving as the team leader of “Systems Control and Analysis” since 2012. At the KIT Electrotechnical Institute, her focus is on energy storage systems. Munzke has extensive experience in the field of dimensioning and simulation, in addition to developing intelligent system controls for stationary storage systems. She is also an expert in the evaluation of the performance of stationary storage systems.

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