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Redox Flow Batteries 2017-2027: Markets, Trends, Applications

Redox Flow Batteries 2017-2027: Markets, Trends, Applications

Redox Flow Batteries were initially developed by NASA in the 70s for its space programme. The expiry of a number of patents related to RFBs in 2006 has sparked an industrial race to commercialisation, which will grow to become a $4bn market by 2027.

Often perceived as an underdog, redox flow batteries (RFB) may not deliver the same power of a Li-ion battery, but they can compete in terms of cycle life, safety, and reliability for stationary applications. Utilities around the world are avidly testing RFBs in pilot projects, while China is underway in the construction of the largest battery in the world (200 MW / 800 MWh), which will be entirely powered by redox flow batteries. If successful, this project will be replicated across the country and probably also in Europe and the US.

In this report, technology analyst Dr. Lorenzo Grande from IDTechEx analyses the different flow battery chemistries available from a technology standpoint (all-vanadium, all-iron, zinc/bromine, hydrogen/bromine, polysulphide, etc.) as well as by engaging with the worlds main stakeholders (UET, Sumitomo, Primus Power, Gildemeister - just to name a few). Overall, 19 companies are included in this report, covering the whole RFB spectrum as well as all the main markets, namely USA, Europe, and Asia. The companies are compared in terms of their target markets and a series of case studies explains who are the most likely winners and why.

RFBs operate by means of electro-active chemicals dissolved in liquid solutions that are named anolyte and catholyte, and which are stored into tanks. By exchanging ions through a membrane, it is possible to generate a cell voltage and extract energy out of such a system. The possibility to modulate both the tank and the membrane size independently allows for the decoupling of power and energy capabilities, thus making this technology extremely flexible and tailored to user needs.

Stationary energy storage is a cost-effective way to increase renewable energy utilisation, as well as to implement energy efficiency measures, both at residential, industrial, and grid level. The redox flow battery technology, despite higher upfront costs and lower energy density, has a shorter payback time thanks to a good capacity retention even after many thousands of cycles. Additionally, redox flow batteries (RFBs) retain most of their initial value thanks to the possibility to recycle their core components more easily than other battery chemistries. Some RFB chemistries, like that based on vanadium, are already commercial and set to capture most of the $4bn market value. Other chemistries, like zinc/bromine and hydrogen/bromine, have the potential to capture significant portions of the market thanks to high-profile collaborations and partnerships already in place.

Lithium-ion batteries will suffer a setback from the emergence of utility-grade flow batteries, which will contribute to ease the pressure on lithium resources that are more needed for electric mobility applications. One final interesting remark is that, with notable exceptions, a sizeable portion of the RFB industry is located in Europe and the US. The success of said companies will fuel the Western Worlds competitiveness against the Asian Li-ion incumbents.

Please note the PDF Email From Publisher version of this report allows five users.

1.1. Redox flow batteries will take over stationary storage
2.1. What is a battery?
2.1.1. Electrochemistry definitions
2.1.2. Electrochemistry definitions
2.1.3. What does 1 kilowatthour (kWh) look like?
2.1.4. Useful charts for performance comparison
2.2. The battery trilemma
2.2.1. Lessons from the computer industry
2.2.2. Stationary energy storage is not new
2.2.3. The increasingly important role of stationary storage
2.2.4. New avenues for stationary storage
2.2.5. Values provided at the customer side
2.2.6. Values provided at the utility side
2.2.7. Values provided in ancillary services
2.3. Enter Tesla PowerWall
2.3.1. The case for RFBs
2.3.2. The price of RFBs
2.3.3. The price of RFBs - LCOS
2.4. Redox flow batteries in the news
2.5. Redox flow batteries and caves
2.6. Guide to understanding the charts
2.6.1. Largest operational RFB projects
2.6.2. Market players (operational projects)
2.6.3. Companies' market share by MW
2.6.4. Companies' market share by MWh
2.6.5. Technology market share by MW
2.6.6. Technology market share by MWh
2.6.7. List of operational projects as of Q2 2017
2.7. ARPA-E funding on RFBs
3.1. Gaseous and liquid electrodes
3.2. Catholytes and anolytes
3.3. Exploded view of an RFB and polarisation curve
3.4. History of RFBs
3.5. Choice of redox-active species and solvents
3.6. Types of RFBs
3.6.1. RFB chemistries: Iron/Chromium
3.6.2. RFB chemistries: PSB flow batteries
3.6.3. RFB chemistries: Vanadium/Bromine
3.6.4. RFB chemistries: all Vanadium (VRFB)
3.6.5. Hybrid RFBs: Zinc/Bromine
3.6.6. Hybrid RFBs: Hydrogen/Bromine
3.6.7. Hybrid RFBs: all Iron
3.7. Hybrid RFBs: all Iron
3.8. Other RFBs: organic
3.9. Other RFBs: non-aqueous
3.9.1. Lab-scale flow battery projects
3.9.2. Microflow batteries?
3.10. Technology Recap
3.11. Comparison with fuel cells and conventional batteries
3.12. Hype curve for RFB technologies
3.13. Other RFB configurations
4.1. Membranes
4.2. Current collectors
4.3. Flow distributors and turbulence promoters
4.4. Electrolyte flow circuit
4.4.1. Raw materials for RFB electrolytes
4.4.2. Vanadium and the steel industry
5.1. Power and energy are decoupled
5.2. Fit-and-forget philosophy
5.2.1. Competing technologies: Li-ion
5.2.2. Competing technologies: Na/S
6.1. Liquid electricity
6.2. General Electric
6.3. Toyota
6.4. nanoFlowcell
7.1. Cost factors at electrolyte level
7.2. Cost breakdown of a Vanadium-redox flow battery
7.3. The effect of temperature and current density
7.4. Zn/Br batteries from Primus Power in comparison
7.5. Finding the right market
7.5.1. Self-consumption according to Agora Energiewende
7.5.2. Agora Energiewende's opinion
7.6. RFB value chain
8.1. Companies in this report
8.2. Technology and manufacturing readiness
8.3. Addressable markets for stationary storage
8.4. Battery size by market and technology
8.5. Score comparison
9.1. VRFB - UniEnergy Technologies (UET)
9.2. VRFB - VoltStorage
9.3. Zn/Br - Primus Power
9.4. H/Br - EleStor
9.5. Zn/air flow - ViZn Energy
10.1. Market forecast assumptions
10.2. Global value of stationary storage 2017-2027 ($M)
10.3. Global value of RFB storage 2017-2027 ($M)
10.3.1. RFB market share snapshots
10.4. Technology diversification (MWh)
10.4.1. Technology diversification (MWh)
11.1. eChemion
11.2. EleStor
11.3. Enstorage Inc
11.4. ESS Inc
11.5. GILDEMEISTER Aktiengesellschaft
11.6. ITN Energy Systems Inc
11.7. JenaBatteries GmbH
11.8. KemWatt
11.9. nanoFlowcell
11.10. Primus Power Corp
11.11. RedFlow Technologies
11.12. redT
11.13. SCHMID Group
11.14. Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd
11.15. ThyssenKrupp
11.16. Unienergy Technologies
11.17. ViZn Energy
11.18. Volterion
11.19. Voltstorage
11.20. WattJoule
12.1. Technology and manufacturing readiness

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