Traditionally, grid-level power systems have been reliant on the steady energy stream obtained from burning fossil fuels to deliver electricity to populations. But the ever-mounting challenge of global climate change requires a dramatic reduction in our use of these fuels, and a dramatic uptake in “renewable” energy generation (e.g. wind, solar, hydro). However full utilisation of these resources is severely limited by mismatches between their temporal availability and the demand on an electricity grid.
To make full use of renewable power sources at grid-level, high capacity energy storage solutions are required to harvest renewable energy when available and distribute when required. Unfortunately current battery technology capable of delivering the rapid response required for grid use, such as lithium ion, is substantially constrained by high costs, physical and electrical limitations, and severe safety risks of lithium battery fires.
A viable alternative is the “flow battery” in which large volume tanks of liquid electrolyte are pumped through an electrochemical cell. The Improvement of Redox Flow Energy Storage with Renewable Energy to Secure Sustainable Electricity Systems (ImpRESS) project aims to advance this technology through interdisciplinary (Chemistry and Electrical Engineering) research in collaboration with industry partners. It involves the development and testing of new electrolytes with improved energy densities, scale up of materials and demonstration of flow battery technology as support for the all-Ireland electrical grid.
- Green Lizard Technologies
- Flow Energy Solutions