U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Improving Batteries for Large-Scale Renewable Energy Storage
Published: April 18, 2011
Posted: April 29, 2011

Because sunshine and wind are not constant, renewable power production from these natural sources is intermittent without technologies that can store large amounts of electricity. One large-scale storage option is the vanadium redox battery; however, these batteries have been limited by high cost and a narrow range of operating temperatures. Using capabilities at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a DOE scientific user facility, a team of scientists has found that by using a specific electrolyte solution the battery’s storage capacity could be increased by 70% and the temperature range within which the batteries operate could be expanded by 50%. Using EMSL’s Chinook supercomputer and a 500 MHz wide-bore nuclear magnetic resonance mass spectrometer, the researchers predicted, and then verified, that a soluble vanadium-containing species in the mixed electrolyte solution helped expand the temperature range of operation. This research was published online March 11 in Advanced Energy Materials and is partially supported by DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

Reference: Li, L., S. Kim, W. Wang, M. Vijaayakumar, Z. Nie, B. Chen, J. Zhang, G. Xia, J. Hu, G. Graff, J. Liu, and Z. Yang. 2011. “A Stable Vanadium Redox-Flow Battery with High Energy Density for Large-Scale Energy Storage,” Advanced Energy Materials, Article Link

Contact: Paul E. Bayer, SC-23.1, (301) 903-5324
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: DOE Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER


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