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A RELIABLE, EFFICIENT, FLEXIBLE AND COST FFECTIVE VANADIUM-REDOX BATTERY ECHNOLOGY FOR LARGE SCALE ELECTRICITY STORAGE: A NOVEL SOLUTION FOR A GREEN GRID.

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - VR-ENERGY (A RELIABLE, EFFICIENT, FLEXIBLE AND COST FFECTIVE VANADIUM-REDOX BATTERY ECHNOLOGY FOR LARGE SCALE ELECTRICITY STORAGE: A NOVEL SOLUTION FOR A GREEN GRID.)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2019-11-30

Renewable energy is now central to the world’s ongoing energy transformation. Only one problem remains –intermittency – which leads to excess supply being wasted and under supply often being penalized. HydraRedox stands out as a strong contender, offering large scale energy storage solutions ideal for use with renewables to create clean and sustainable energy systems. The HydraRedox system is based on a proprietary radically new approach to vanadium redox technology. The system is very flexible, modular, scalable and can be designed to match exact power and energy requirements. Power can be scaled up to multi-MW while the duration of storage (MWh) can be independently sized from a few hours to 24hours. It is highly efficient (>80%, even at low charge), with 100% depth of discharge, a long-projected life (in line with that of renewables), unlimited cycling and requires low maintenance. Environmentally, the system is neutral when operated and when dismantled/disposed of; furthermore, the energy section, is entirely recyclable.
Why is it important for society?
Energy storage implementation will increase the levels of wind and solar that can be accommodated by the electricity system and is a crucial component for future renewables growth – but the positive ramifications go well beyond the energy sector. For government, industry and society, energy storage will trigger a chain reaction of benefits from power quality, reliability, security of supply, price stability to environmental and other social benefits. HydraRedox will create employment opportunities as the leader in this new disruptive sector and, additionally, as an enabling technology HydraRedox will boost demand for renewables as well as for supporting technologies such as manufacturers of inverters and software/controls, all of which are expected to see strong job growth.
Overall Objectives
The ultimate goal of the VR Energy project is to demonstrate that a plant of 500 kW is feasible and can be operated in the same conditions to be found at the client’s 1 MW installation, i.e. connected to large renewable energy sources.
To be a commercially viable partner, energy storage needs to adapt to renewables’ fast-changing landscape of ever growing size and lower costs. To be adopted on a large-scale energy storage must be technologically optimized, to provide scalable and modular units that can match the growth in scale of solar plants and wind turbines. In terms of costs, be implemented on a large scale and be economically viable, energy storage costs will need to fall rapidly in the next 3-5 years: the industry is giving aggressive guidelines of prices which need to fall sharply from the current broad range of €500-1200/kWh to below €300/kWh by 2020 towards a longer-term target of €100/kWh and below.
One of the main concern for the industry is whether technologies under development today will be able to satisfy these requirements - the support of the EU is therefore of paramount importance for our technological advancement and cost reduction. It is also crucial to be able to discuss this project with our clients to give them a sense of our vision and efforts to address their needs, giving them confidence in our abilities to meet these aggressive targets and be a contender in energy storage industry of the future.
HydraRedox Iberia was created with the initial objective to address that specific market of medium to large applications which lithium ion cannot fulfil. We therefore focused on scaling up our technology with the VR Energy project. In parallel we have actively pursued a marketing strategy, presenting the technology to a broad spectrum to potential users from farmers, to renewable operators all the way to the grid operators.
The VR-Energy project consists of several lines of work aimed at the final objective: scaling up the technology and demonstrating its technical and commercial validity through a 500 kW unit operated in a real environment. To achieve this, in-depth R&D work was carried out to optimize the individual parameters of the system and test them extensively ahead of the full manufacturing scale up. The R&D program brought to light several drawbacks with our original design and eventually led to a completed redesign which we now are confident will achieve the flexibility, reliability, efficiency and cost structure needed to succeed commercially. We are now working on a simplified, streamline product which will meet the key technical and commercial requirements of the project.
Running in parallel, a comprehensive commercial plan was implemented to initiate a broad range of activities and prepare the ground for full commercialization at the end of the VR Energy project. These included extensive face to face meetings with potential clients, participation to investors events as well as extensive communications and dissemination activities. This has included a very active search for an ideal final user for the implementation and testing of the 1MW-4MWh plant in a real environment. Overall, the incredible amount of interest generated in HydraRedox and in its ability to demonstrate the scalability of its technology at this level is the best indicator of success.
In the early part of the project, the updates were driven by the coaching and training received through Horizon2020 and the support of the accelerator programmes for which we qualified. In the second Period, the Plan was updated to reflect and adapt to our target market thanks to the information and experience gained through dozens of face-to face meetings with potential clients. In addition, our commercial efforts were influenced by market drivers such as pressure to reduce costs and lack of regulatory framework. This prompted us to prioritize certain market segments, for example focusing on establishing strategic partnerships. Period 3 was a one-year extension requested in order to find a suitable end user for the VR Energy plant. We broadened the scope of our search both by client type, client location and possible size of installation.
Our value proposition is centred around fact that HydraRedox Iberia can minimise costs across the board: lower capex by avoiding spare capacity build up (using over charge/discharge capacity to address peaks), long life (3 times that of lithium ion), durability (no degradation over time), low and easy maintenance and fully recycling of the vanadium electrolytes.
The smaller end of the market has been opening up to alternatives to lithium ion much faster than anticipated; indeed, a large portion of enquiries we receive are for smaller installations – from users who wish to have better control of their energy costs, switch to clean energy and become independent from the grid. The technology developed under the VR Energy project is ideal to address both the smaller and the medium to larger ends of the market and provide power requirements in a compact fashion for a broad range of applications.
An acceleration of the implementation of energy storage in a large scale will bring a whole range of benefits to society, financial, welfare, quality of life as well as generating employment.
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