Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Vanadium Redox Flow Cells At Work in Canada and Alaska -- A "Game Changer"

Utility-Scale flow cell batteries promise a "perfect fit" with large solar and wind energy projects. In Canada and Alaska, VRB Power Systems Vanadium flow cells are already helping to smooth the output of wind turbine projects.
VRB vanadium flow battery technology is already smoothing wind turbine output for remote power hybrid wind-diesel applications in northern Canada and Alaska and providing frequency regulation, voltage support and blackstart capability.

These locations have turned to wind power because electricity costs have become unreasonably high due to the growing costs of diesel generation and to gain the environmental benefits associated with a renewable resource. A VRB flow battery is introduced to the hybrid wind-diesel system to firm up the wind power and to ensure that the generator runs on the most efficient setting. "With the current high cost of diesel in these remote communities, the pay-back for investments in storage is very attractive," said Brian Beck of VRB Power Systems. VRB claims that solar can also be added to this system.
Another promising utility-scale electrical storage method is the Sodium Sulfide (NaS) battery from NGK Insulators, Ltd., Japan.
With over 200 megawatts (MW) of NaS batteries installed worldwide, Japan-based NGK Insulators, Ltd is another battery storage company hoping to capitalize on that rapidly growing market. The company's NaS batteries, used mainly for load leveling, enable companies to sell cheap off-peak wind power during peak times, thereby fetching a higher price. There are 34 MW of these batteries being installed near the 51-MW Rokkasho wind farm, making it the largest combined wind and storage project in Japan. Stored indoors to protect them from the corrosive salty air of the region, 17 sets of 2-MW NaS battery units (each battery unit consists of 40 50-kW modules) are monitored alongside the weather and the Rokkasho wind farm in a control center.

New technological applications such as the sophisticated vanadium flow batteries of VRB Power and the NaS systems of NGK combined with a variety of other storage options such as pumped hydro and compressed air systems demonstrate that the intermittency concerns often associated with renewables like wind and solar are quickly becoming manageable issues.

Pumped hydro and compressed air systems do not have ideal availability or scalability. That is why the development of the redox flow cell and other scalable electric storage methods are so important to the rapid expansion of solar, wind, and other intermittent renewable energy schemes. Not to mention routine load-leveling which would save utilities significant sums of money every year, once implemented.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts