New deals in Australia’s growing redox flow battery sector


From pv magazine Australia

Australian flow-battery specialist Redflow has won its biggest global contract yet after signing a $1.2 million agreement with California-based Anaergia, under which it will supply a 2 MWh energy storage system made up of 192 zinc-bromine flow batteries for an Anaergia facility in San Bernardino, California.

Anaergia COO Yaniv Scherson said that Redflow’s zinc-bromine flow batteries are “uniquely suited to meet the demands of the Rialto site.” Anaergia recovers value from waste at its bioenergy facility, which already features its own 2 MW biogas-fueled cogeneration microgrid. The Redflow system will help to reduce peak energy usage in the late afternoon and early evening, to maximize the microgrid’s efficiency.

The storage is laid out via 12 “Energy Pods,” each of which contains 16 Redflow batteries linked to external inverters. With each battery storing approximately 10.5 KWh, the overall capacity should sit at around 2 MWh.

Once the facility is fully operational, it will be the biggest landfill diverted organic waste digester plants in North America. It will convert 700 tons of organic waste from Los Angeles and Southern California per day, while turning 300 tons of biosolids into renewable natural gas and Class A fertilizer.

Redflow Managing Director and CEO Tim Harris said the facility is an “ideal use case for Redflow zinc-bromine flow batteries.” There will likely be much interest in California for its energy storage systems. A recent study by the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) suggests that the state will need 150 times more long-duration energy storage, between 45-55 GW, to reach its net-zero by 2045 target.

Comprehensive deal

In a separate development, Technology Metals Australia, a West Australian vanadium explorer, has signed a deal with Japan's LE System, which specializes in vanadium redox flow batteries. The deal, which is effective until the end of this year, will see the two companies investigate the application of LE System’s proprietary technology to Technology Metals Australia’s vanadium projects. It will also explore the production of vanadium redox flow battery electrolytes in Western Australia, as well as selling high purity iron-vanadium concentrate to Japanese customers.

Technology Metals Australia’s primary exploration focus is the Gabanintha Vanadium Project (GVP), located 40 kilometers south east of Meekatharra, Western Australia. It seeks to develop a processing technique to produce high-purity vanadium pentoxide, with the goal of becoming one of the world’s largest single primary vanadium producers.

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In 2019, the company secured funding from the Australian federal government’s Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive Scheme, which went towards its Gabanintha Project

Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) are rechargeable flow batteries which use vanadium in different oxidation states to store energy. Flow batteries have enjoyed a recent resurgence of attention as an energy storage solution, driven by the fact that VRFBs are non-flammable, offer virtually unlimited cycling without degradation, and are easily scalable.

Wondrous waste

The Technology Metals agreement will see LE Systems apply its proprietary processing technology to extract vanadium and other metals from the Gabanintha Vanadium Project’s waste streams. The companies said they have been working on the plan together for “for some time.”

“Successful application of the proprietary processing technology to the GVP waste streams would provide LES with access to a low-cost, stable supply of vanadium products and provide Technology Metals with potential environmental management benefits,” Technology Metals said on Monday.

A partnership with LE System, which is on track to becoming a key VRFB electrolyte provider, opens up new pathways for Technology Metals' downstream processing strategy. Specifically, the deal will see the two companies investigate opportunities to use proprietary technology to manufacture VRFB electrolyte in Western Australia.

“With the necessity of large capacity storage batteries rapidly increasing, the successful technology collaboration and business cooperation between TMT and LE System are very important to us,” said LE System CEO Junichi Sato.

Under the terms of the deal, the two parties have agreed to investigate the opportunity to jointly produce electrolyte for the VRFB market in Western Australia. They will initially focus on the use of vanadium sourced from GVP waste streams, but there is potential to expand by using the high-purity vanadium to be produced from the project.

“This opportunity would have scope to establish a significant downstream value adding industry designed to target what TMT sees as the rapidly emerging stationary storage battery market opportunities in Australia,” Technology Metals said.

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