Saturday, March 12, 2016

Advanced Energy Storage – Flow Batteries

Innovative energy storage technology for Power Generation Hybrid Systems
can reduce fuel consumption, carbon footprint and total cost of operation up to 50%
-key product differentiators for the fast growing remote telecom towers segment.

Disruptive Technology - Hybrid power generation systems, for the fast growing remote telecom towers segment, will witness disruptive innovations caused by integration with energy storage and renewables by 2020. We have an opportunity to differentiate our product by adopting a superior energy storage technology – Zinc Bromine Flow Battery (pioneered by the Sandia National Labs). Flow batteries are superior to Li-ion and other next-generation storage technologies for long-duration applications. The falling costs of these batteries is expected to carve out a 360 MWh market in 2020, worth $190 million - Zinc bromine (ZnBr) is predicted to become the most competitive flow battery at $391/kWh.

Business case - Secondary market research indicates that, the global telecom industry will deploy by 2020 approximately 390,000 telecom towers that are off-grid and 790,000 that are in bad-grid locations. This is an increase of 22% and 13%, respectively, from today. If these towers continue to use diesel-powered generators:
·         Diesel consumption for telecom towers will increase by 13-15% from today’s levels, to over 150 million barrels per year. The resulting annual cost of diesel will be over US$ 19 billion in 2020, or US$ 5 per mobile-phone user per year.
·         About 45 million tons of CO2 per year will be released, which is more than 5 million tons higher than current levels.
Conversion to more efficient, greener alternative tower power solutions, which include diesel generator-advanced battery and renewable energy hybrid systems, could save the industry US$ 13-14 billion annually. Adoption of these green technologies at scale also has the potential to generate approximately 40 million tons and US$ 100-500 million annually in carbon savings.

Customer benefit - Pairing an energy storage technology and a smart control system with a high efficiency diesel generator produces a wide range of advantages compared to a diesel-only generator – (a) The engine does not have to be running the entire time and when the engine is running, it is at its most efficient rpm, which extends engine life (b) Fuel consumption, TCO and carbon footprint can reduce up to 50% (c) Engine noise is greatly reduced.

Idea in brief - Deploying a hybrid power system that integrates a variable speed diesel DC generator with a superior energy storage system – a Zn Br flow battery - is an extremely energy efficient alternative to using an AC generator operating 24/7, since the generator simultaneously charges the battery and powers the site load. When the battery is fully charged the generator shuts down and the battery takes over as the primary source of power. The generator runtime is reduced to typically four hours per day, with major savings in fuel consumption – usually up to 50% compared with a standard generator. It also reduces CO2 emissions while increasing refuelling and service intervals. A complete hybrid system of this type can be packaged in a compact and light ‘energy container’ to offer a turnkey solution that is quick and easy to install in remote locations.

We will explore the use of flow batteries for automotive application in our next blog :

Automotive - GE built a flow battery that enhance the range of electric vehicles to 240 miles -

India - A team of materials scientists, physicists & chemists at Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR Lab, Karaikudi) lead by Dr Vijayamohanan Pillai has been actively working on Zn - Br redox systems for flow batteries - notable inventions from this group include development of carbon - based electrodes.


  1. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog. Keep up the good work.
    Plastic Flow Meter

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