A consortium from Canada, Germany and the Netherlands has been formed with a view to allow commercially development work for the first phase of key design and engineering of next-generation vanadium redox flow-battery systems (“VRFB Battery”) for marine propulsion applications.
The trio comprises Vanadium Corp from Canada, Conoship International Projects from the Netherlands and Vega Reederei and Partners from Germany Phase I work will be managed by the Canadian company’s wholly owned German subsidiary, VanadiumCorp GmbH, under the direction of VanadiumCorp’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. G Y Champagne.
A multidisciplinary engineering team, located in Germany, Netherlands, and North America is focusing on Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) system architecture, components & parts design and other required tasks leading up to delivering VRFB cells and stacks of incremental sizes for testing to local research and development partners near the established VanadiumCorp facility in Germany. In addition to this effort, R&D partners will conduct some specific lab-level material and electrolyte tests to support the engineering work and integration of the VRFB in marine vessels.
Key advancements in energy density form a strong business case and stem from VanadiumCorp’s research and development cooperation with CENELEST (The German-Australian Alliance for Electrochemical Technologies for the Storage of Renewable Energy that combines the strengths of both the Fraunhofer ICT (Institute for Chemical Technology) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in redox flow battery systems.
The role of VanadiumCorp is to develop the main components of the VRFB system that include a battery stack of appropriate power size and an optimized electrolyte formulation of favourable energy density. VanadiumCorp will enlist its skilled partners in electrolyte production, VRFB Battery manufacturing and R&D in subsequent stages of work.
VRFB batteries have previously been used only in grid storage projects because of their weight and size but new technologies show promise in reducing size and increasing energy concentration. VRFB batteries can typically tolerate very much higher charge/discharge cycles than lithium ion battery systems and can be completely discharged and left in such a state indefinitely if required without damaging the system. They are also considered to have a much lower fire risk.