02 September 2006

Vanadium Redox Flow Cells and Other Energy Hopefuls

There has been a lot of talk of the potential of Vanadium Redox flow cells, but few working projects up until now. The Energy Blog reports on a sale of Vanadium Redox cells by Canadian company VRB Power, to an Irish wind farm. Redox flow cells are an ideal means of storing energy from renewable sources such as wind, due to the innate scaleability involved.

This sale is significant because the developlment of large energy storage systems is necessary before sun and wind power can become a truly integral part of our power generation system. Because of the intermittency of these sources, they, by themselves, are not dispacthable to meet the demands of the grid. Some means of storing the energy so that it can be used (dispatched) as needed is required. Llke a huge battery energy storage systems serve this need. Numerous types of systems are in use at a small scale, but very few at a large enough scale to be useful to a utility.

"This is a very important sale for the Company," stated Tim Hennessy, Chairman and CEO of VRB Power. "It is the largest sale we have made to date and it provides validation of the potential for our storage systems to be coupled to wind farms in the large, growing wind markets in Ireland, Europe and North America as well as a number of other countries worldwide. The VRB technology is the most advanced wind coupled storage system in the world with a very large system installed in Japan and a smaller one installed in Australia. The repeated deep cycling in wind applications makes it virtually impossible for conventional batteries or even advanced batteries to compete with the VRB - ESS"

The cost of electricity generation in Ireland has risen to amongst the highest in the world and this has led to a large focus on reducing dependence on natural gas imports, becoming more self-sufficient in terms of electricity generation and in maximizing its own natural resources.

The development of scaleable storage technologies such as the Vanadium Redox cell is vital to the rapid expansion of renewables.

Other energy technologies are receiving a lot of attention, including some that are reputable and some that are not. Peswiki reports on the New Energy Congress' Top 100 energy technologies. Look them over. Some will make you groan, and others may make you perk up and take notice. Just remember that every revolutionary technology has been viewed as worthless crackpottery at one time or another.

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