Special report: Protean has pressed the ‘on’ button for its vanadium flow battery, launching the first of a series of tests of its high tech storage in Australia.

Vanadium redox flow batteries are a key focus for the energy industry because the technology can store more power and last much longer than lithium-ion batteries. That makes it highly sought-after for industrial and domestic energy storage.

Market researcher IDTechEx predicts the market will be worth $US4.5B by 2028.

The battery technology “has the potential to become a mainstream technology that will compete directly with lithium-ion and sodium-sulphur — currently the two leading chemistries in the stationary storage market”, IDTechEx says in a recent report.

On June 1, clean energy provider Protean (ASX:POW) switched on a 25kW/100kWh V-KOR vanadium redox flow battery (VFRB) at industrial fittings supplier OzLinc Industries in Perth.

It’s the first Australian trial of the technology, which is half-owned alongside Protean’s (ASX:POW) Korean affiliate KORID Energy.

The battery consists of two electrolyte tanks, two battery stacks of 12.5kW each, one 25kW inverter, electrolyte pumps and a power management system. It’ll be charged from a 21.1kW rooftop solar system.

The “plug and play” battery is modular, and can be scaled up from as small as 2kw to 20MW.

Protean has received a number of enquiries regarding its V-KOR battery and is progressing towards commercial orders

Modular technology is the flavour of the moment in many industries.

Protean's 25kW/100kWh V-KOR vanadium redox flow battery (VFRB) in Perth
A drone snapped ths picture of Protean’s 25kW/100kWh V-KOR vanadium redox flow battery being installed in Perth

Governments and corporations are moving away from sinking big sums into giant, years-long builds and towards tech that can be delivered quickly and scaled up or down as needed.

Vanadium redox flow batteries are made up of two tanks of vanadium pentoxide (V₂O₅) that have been processed into a liquid solution called an electrolyte.

When the electrolyte is pumped through electro-chemical cells past a proton-exchange membrane, ions are swapped between the negatively and positively charged electrolyte, creating a charge.

They charge and discharge more slowly than lithium, but because they don’t degrade as fast they can last in excess of 20 years, compared to seven to 10 years for lithium.

 

This special report is brought to you by Protean Energy.

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