A 100 MW / 400 MWh vanadium flow battery system, the largest of its kind in the world, was put into operation in Dalian in northeast China. The technology is much cheaper, safer and more environmentally friendly than lithium ion batteries.
China is in the business of setting benchmarks for energy storage technologies, as well as renewable energy. The latest achievement is the largest vanadium flow battery facility in the world. The Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) designed it for operational power of 100 MW and 400 MWh in capacity to increase the efficiency of using green electricity and maintain grid stability.
The new system is the largest of its kind in the world but the capacity is yet to be doubled, in the next phase. It can currently meet the electricity demand of 200,000 residents for a day, according to project documentation.
Rongke Power has built and integrated the Dalian Concurrent Energy Storage Power Station. The project was approved in 2016.
Energy storage is necessary for stable electricity supply as renewables are taking over
Flow batteries have tanks with liquid electrolytes instead of conventional electrodes. Moreover, a vanadium redox flow system can in theory be used indefinitely unlike standard batteries, which weaken with time. Also, flow batteries are cheaper and don’t catch fire like lithium-ion units. The only disadvantage is that they are massive, so they can’t be used in mobile technology like car batteries.
“The significance of the technology lies in the application of large-scale renewable energy utilities in the future. Renewable energy generation, including wind and photovoltaics, is unstable and depends on the weather. So we need energy storage technology for stable and continuous supply,” said DICP’s Deputy Director Li Xianfeng.
Dalian facility has role of power plant during peak hours
The facility in Dalian in northeast China will be charged from renewable sources when power demand is low and discharged at peak hours.
Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), the largest battery producer in the world, is preparing to roll out the first generation of sodium ion batteries, which could compete more directly with lithium technologies. They are also much cheaper, safer and more environmentally friendly.
The world’s largest pumped storage hydropower plant, the most conventional type of energy storage, is also in China. State-owned Sinopec is building the biggest plant for hydrogen from renewable sources on the planet. Hydrogen has several uses, mostly as a gaseous fuel. The type produced in electrolyzers powered by green electricity is called green hydrogen.