Lithium leader S Korea funds 4MWh vanadium trial that targets doubled energy density

Protean/KORID’s V-KOR vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) stack. Image: Protean Energy.

With a view to creating a mass market design for vanadium flow batteries, Australia’s Protean Energy will deploy a 4MWh battery energy storage project in South Korea that will be researched over eight years of operation.

The ASX-listed company is involved both with vanadium resources as well as creating energy storage systems using vanadium pentoxide electrolyte, producing its own stack technology, V-KOR.

V-KOR ‘stacks’ individual vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) cells within a main system stack, unlike most vanadium flow battery designs in which the whole system is one large ‘cell’. Protean claims this lowers manufacturing costs and improves battery performance. The company connected its first project to the grid in Australia in August, a 100kWh system in Western Australia.

Protean, via its’ 50%-owned Korean subsidiary, KORID ENERGY, has been awarded AU$3 Million in funding towards a trial 1MW/4MWh system by the Korean Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP).

KETEP’s various areas of research and development include extensive focus on renewables and advancing energy technologies overall including the Energy Storage System (ESS) Technology Development Program.

The award to Protean is part of a wider AU$9 million project in this area.

The institute selected the provider through a competitive process for the project, which is anticipated to run for 96 months. It is hoped the trial will double the energy density of vanadium electrolyte, in turn reducing the physical footprint of Protean’s V-KOR battery.

South Korea is best known as home to some of the world’s biggest lithium battery suppliers including Samsung SDI, LG Chem and SK Innovation but this project aims to develop a mass production VRFB through lowering costs and improving manufacturing processes for Protean’s 25kW V-KOR stack.

Protean said KORID’s commercialisation strategy will include targeting the market for large-scale commercial and industrial (C&I) projects.

South Korean chemical company Chemtros will manufacture and supply electrolytes, while other partners are:

Electrolyte chemistry – UniPlus

Power conditioning equipment – EKOS

System development – H2

Sungkyunkwan University

Read Long Time Coming, a feature article published across two quarterly editions of PV Tech Power, looking at the tech, the ambitions and strategies of four flow battery makers, here on the site, or download it as a free PDF from ‘Resources’ to keep and carry (subscription details required).

NextGen Vanadium Batteries: Berkeley & Texas A&M Scientists may have solved ‘electron bottleneck’

vanadium small batt night-battery-theme-minimalismAs the appetite grows for more efficient vehicles and mobile devices based on cleaner, renewable energy sources, so does the demand for batteries that pack more punch, last longer, and charge or discharge more quickly. The compound vanadium pentoxide has grabbed the spotlight as a way to improve lithium-ion batteries. However, it’s less-than-stellar behavior has been problematic.


An international team working at the Molecular Foundry (Berkeley) revealed why the material may not perform as expected. The team discovered how interactions between electrons and ions slow the performance of electrodes made with vanadium pentoxide (Nature Communications, “Mapping polaronic states and lithiation gradients in individual V2O5 nanowires”).


This work answers, in part, why the material gets bogged down. Vanadium pentoxide’s layered atomic structure results in a vast surface area, but a bottleneck occurs. If scientists can address the bottleneck, this material may lead to the next generation of batteries, which pack more punch, last longer, and charge or discharge more quickly.
A scanning electron microscopy image of vanadium pentoxide nanowires
A scanning electron microscopy image of vanadium pentoxide nanowires. The inset shows a ball-and-stick model of vanadium pentoxide’s atomic structure before and after inserting lithium ions (green). (Image: Texas A&M University)
An international team of scientists working at the Molecular Foundry has revealed how interactions between electrons and ions can slow down the performance of vanadium pentoxide, a material considered key to the next generation of batteries.
The compound vanadium pentoxide has grabbed the spotlight as a potential nanostructured material for state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries because it can provide a greater surface area for the arrival and insertion of lithium ions. That quality makes vanadium pentoxide a good candidate as a cathode, the part of a battery where electrons and lithium ions enter.
The speed with which electrons can enter and exit the cathode determines how much power the battery can provide. The entry and exit speed also determine how quickly a battery recharges.
Power density and charging are both critical factors in the world of mobile electronics or electrification of our automotive fleet. But despite vanadium pentoxide’s potential, it has yet to be widely adopted commercially because of its less-than-stellar performance when put to the test in the real world.
The new findings shed light on the slowdown. The results show that the flow of electrons in vanadium pentoxide nanowires gets bogged down as it interacts with lithium ions in a phenomenon known as small polaron formation.
The research group, which involved scientists at Texas A&M University, made 2D maps of the electronic properties of synthesized vanadium pentoxide nanowires serving as a model lithium-ion cathode using scanning transmission x-ray microscopy at the Canadian Light Source. They came to the Molecular Foundry to interpret their findings.
Source: Molecular Foundry, Berkeley Lab

Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries for Large Scale Energy Storage

vanadium batt medium windcarrier_cellcube-281x300Lithium batteries may reign supreme when it comes to cellphones, laptops and electric vehicles. But for larger-scale energy storage, some are looking at alternative metals and technologies.

Enter Vanadium redox batteries. First successfully created by Dr. Maria Skyllas-Kazacos of the University of New South Wales in the 1980’s, Vanadium redox flow batteries use sulfuric solutions to power themselves. A vanadium electrolyte passing through a proton exchange membrane allows the battery to work, with a solution filling two tanks on either side.

Click Here to Read More: What are Vanadium Redox Batteries?

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