China is gearing up to lead the use of vanadium for renewable energy storage, “potentially sending spot prices skyward and heaping pressure on global supplies of the material,” a report says.
Although lithium-ion batteries are popular for energy storage, batteries need to be big and should provide long shelf life. A report published on the website of the Australia China Business Review stated that that vanadium flow battery is slowly becoming an alternative to address the challenge that renewable power does not always occur at the same time as peak demand.
VRFB, or Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries, can be utilised to store hundreds of megawatt-hours of energy to provide a potential power source at peak load times on traditional energy grids. China is establishing the biggest VRFB project as part of its commitment to lessen dependence on coal-fired power and make the shift to renewables.
Pu Neng, an avid advocate of vanadium flow battery technology, was awarded a contract on November to establish one of the largest VRFB in China, describing it as “a glimpse into the future of the Chinese electricity grid.” The company will first build a small-scale VRFB to manifest the capability of utilising the technology to incorporate a solar photovoltaic system into the energy grid at Zaoyang.
Another 100-megawatt, 500MW-hour energy storage project will be built next to the new smart energy grid in Hubei Province. Rongke Power has a 200MW-800MWh VRFB which is considered as the largest planned chemical battery in the world. Rongke also has a large-scale manufacturing facility that builds the batteries and is anticipated to become operational by 2020.
Vince Algar, Managing Director at Australian Vanadium, stated, “In China, there are massive amounts of renewables projects being deployed, they understand the concepts of true storage, long-duration storage and the dam concept of renewables, and that’s not something that’s gotten through in the Australian psyche yet.”
“The battery that Rongke is building at Dalian is like a benchmark for ultra-large-scale flow batteries and ultra-large-scale grid batteries in general. They provide longer duration storage opportunities for the grid, and they are long-life assets that are grid-life assets,” Algar continued.
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