An Irish company has developed a long-life battery that stores electrical energy in liquid form.
Red-T, the company behind the flow battery technology, said that its battery can store energy for much longer than conventional batteries and could potentially provide electricity for people in remote locations.
Similarly, the company said that its vanadium redox batteries can store energy from renewable sources and distribute it to the grid whenever it is needed.
The battery range relies on a vanadium electrolyte to transport electrons through the battery cell.
John Ward, chief executive officer of Red-T, explained to the The Engineer that vanadium is ideal because its unique valences make it very stable.
He said: ‘Batteries such as the lithium-ion battery seen in electric cars can charge/discharge around 1,500 times. After this, they degrade very quickly and then they cannot be reused. They are also not great with partial charges.
‘Our system does not degrade at all, so you can charge/discharge it around 10,000 times.’
According to Ward, this makes Red-T’s battery system ideally suited to delivering electricity in off-grid areas where, for example, solar power is available.
‘For a 5kW continuous load, you would install around 30kW of PV [photovoltaic] panels and around 10kW x 10 hours of the Red-T system, giving 100kWh storage capacity,’ he said.
Ward added that, by day, the system would deliver 5kW to the load source and charge the battery.
‘Once the sun sets, you would then draw off the Red-T system for your power requirements,’ he said. ‘So, for this system, you would have a completely standalone power system off grid. At one cycle day, the battery would have 365 charges a year, so it would last for 18 years.’
The AIB Seed Capital Fund recently led a €900,000 (£756,000) investment in Red-T, which has research and development facilities in Reading.