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Lynchpin for VRFBs to reach their potential lies in the price of vanadium

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By Brian Warshay

 

In a recent webinar titled, “The Future of the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery,” Lux Research examined the potential of the Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) to reach cost reduction goals sufficient to achieve mass market adoption.

 

VRFBs have the highest potential for growth in the emerging grid storage market, increasing their market share from 2% today to 17% by 2017, if developers can reach their targets of $750 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), fully installed. However, costs today are at $1,250/kWh, with $910/kWh of those costs attributed to battery component, labor and materials alone. The remaining costs are attributed to thermal management systems, installation, land, and power conditioning systems.

 

Lux Research evaluated the potential for cost reduction by focusing on the electrolyte, which alone accounts for 32% of the total system costs for a VRFB. Electrolyte costs can be reduced along two pathways, controlling the price of vanadium, a major component of the electrolyte, or by increasing the molarity of the electrolyte, thereby increasing energy density and saving costs on the balance of system, land, and installation.

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