Scientists from the University of Southern California (USC) claim to have developed an inexpensive, safe redox flow battery.
The device incorporates iron sulfate – a cheap waste product of the steel industry – alongside the anthraquinone disulfonic acid (AQDS) organic material already used to improve the stability and solubility of redox flow batteries.
“While the two compounds are well known individually, it’s the first time they’ve been combined to prove potential for large scale energy storage,” the researchers claimed.
The scientists estimated they could produce a device based on the two compounds at a commercial scale for $66/kWh based on iron sulfate costing around $0.10 per kilo and AQDS $3. “If manufactured at scale, electricity would cost less than half the energy derived from the redox batteries that use vanadium, which is more expensive and toxic,” said the USC group.
The scientists found no measurable change in device capacity over 500 cycles, in symmetric cells, and no deterioration of active material across long periods of cycling. “Although the thermodynamic cell voltage of 0.62 V is not as high as that for the vanadium system, we project an active material cost (including acid), to be about $54/kWh for the symmetric cell, using acidic solutions of iron sulfate and AQDS,” the team wrote in the study A Durable, Inexpensive and Scalable Redox Flow Battery Based on Iron Sulfate and Anthraquinone Disulfonic Acid, published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society.
The researchers also ascertained principal voltage losses arose from the ohmic resistance of the electrode and electrolyte – the opposition of the materials to the flow of electric current.
The USC researchers said they reduced ohmic resistance by almost 40% by altering the composition of the carbon-nanotube-modified electrodes. That, they said, resulted in a rise in discharge voltage, leading to an increase in the power density and energy efficiency of the system. “With these characteristics, the iron/AQDS battery overcomes the challenges encountered with other iron-based flow batteries,” said the developers of the device.
Although the iron-AQDS battery offers lower cell voltage than vanadium redox flow alternatives, that would be more than compensated by higher durability and lower material costs, according to the Southern California group.
In January, an international group led by Spanish research center CIC EnergiGune said it was designing novel redox organic flow batteries. The researchers said their devices would offer longer duration and higher power and energy densities in a more environmentally friendly format. The European Commission provided €3.8 million to that initiative. “The project aims to demonstrate that organic flow batteries can be a sustainable alternative to vanadium batteries, a material included in the list of critical raw materials by the European Commission,” the CIC scientists said.
This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: email@example.com.
Hi Emiliano, is there any ability to expand on what their energy density is compared to Lithium batteries and other flow?
Hopefully someone will get that an individual household battery energy storage system will democratize the strangle hold big energy companies have on the world population. Each nation’s own security depends on how independent the free man is on his own land just as the right to bear arms was once seen as the basis for a free people who’s productivity became the envy on the world. Freedom breeds prosperous people and that rising tide floats all boats such that opportunities abound. I hope all these battery advancements and the companies behind them don’t simply promulgate the status quo of the energy cabals
Hi. We are currently in the market for a 25kw/hr (approx) flow battery for a domestic house solar system. Can anyone please suggest a supplier/s who can help us out.
We live in Nelson, New Zealand.
I see the University of Sydney is working on flow batteries at present. Maybe they are an option?
Regards Pete Ross.
Thanks for your comment. As Invinity states in the story, its vanadium redox flow batteries are not appropriate for individual households. I’m not sure whether that’s a question of scale and desired customer by the company or whether the technology is simply not suited at such a size.
By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.
Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.
You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.
Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.