Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB): Market Overview

VRFBs store energy by employing vanadium redox (oxidation state) couples, V2+/V3+ in the negative, and V4+/V5+ in the positive half-cells. Vanadium redox couple is chemically active; it gets dissolved in sulfur acid electrolyte solution. The energy and power rating of VRFB are independent of each other. This is a significant feature of VRFB to modulate power in kilowatts (kW) and energy in kilo watt hour (kWh). The power of the VRFB is defined by the size and number of cells in a unit, while the energy capacity is set by the amount of electrolyte stored in the reservoir. The half cells of VRFB are connected to the electrolyte storage tanks, which can essentially pump large amounts of electrolytes for better performance in storage of power especially for solar and wind power generation plants.

Vanadium redox flow battery (VFRB) technologies store energy in the liquid form due to the ability of vanadium to exist in four different oxidation states. This property of vanadium makes the battery have one electro active element instead of two. VRFBs are bulky in size; hence, these are used for grid energy storage attached to the power plant or electrical grids.

Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB) Market: Dynamics and Trends

The first demonstration of VRFB was carried out in Australia in 1980, with vanadium in sulfuric acid solution in each half. However, initial vanadium redox batteries creation was started in 1930’s. VRFBs have the ability to operate in a full cycle, wherein the battery can stay active even at 0% charge. This makes them suitable for energy storage in solar and wind power generation farms. Lithium ion (Li-on) batteries, unlike VRFB, can only operate between 20% and 100%. Li-on batteries cannot function when the charge is 20% or below.

VRFB has limited self-discharge characteristics. This makes the battery suitable in applications wherein batteries are to be stored for eventually longer period of time with low maintenance and a ready-state of the battery has to be maintained. VRFBs are installed in the sensor components of certain military equipment’s (weapons, ammunitions, etc.) such as land mines.

VRFB have rapid response time. Thus, these batteries are suitable for UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) applications. These batteries have the potential to replace the use of lead acid batteries and diesel generators. Rapid response time also makes VRFB suitable for frequency regelation in large power generating stations. VRFBs provide an effective solution for micro grids, which require reliable operation, frequency regulation, and peak load and base load shifting.

VRFB offers certain vital properties. It can offer almost unlimited energy capacity if large amount of electrolyte is stored and has low maintenance and no ill effects even when VRFB is left discharged for a longer period of time. The energy to volume ratio of VRFB is poor. This is one of the major advantages as compared to standard storage batteries.

VRFB Market Segmentation

Based on application, the VRFB market can be segmented into power storage (for solar, wind power generation), military electronics, and UPS (uninterrupted power supply applications). In terms of region, the global VRFB market can be divided into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa.

VRFBVanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFB) Market: Key Players

Key players operating in the global VRFB market include Imergy Power Systems, Inc., Northern Graphite, UniEnergy Technologies, StorEn Technologies, Sumitomo Corp., Gildemeister AG, and Prudent Energy.

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