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Market Research Report

Redox Flow Batteries 2017-2027: Markets, Trends, Applications

Published by IDTechEx Ltd. Product code 490478
Published Content info 121 Pages
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Redox Flow Batteries 2017-2027: Markets, Trends, Applications
Published: April 20, 2017 Content info: 121 Pages
Description

Redox Flow Batteries were initially developed by NASA in the 70's for its space programme. The expiry of a number of patents related to RFBs in 2006 has sparked an industrial race to commercialisation, which will grow to become a $4bn market by 2027.

Often perceived as an underdog, redox flow batteries (RFB) may not deliver the same power of a Li-ion battery, but they can compete in terms of cycle life, safety, and reliability for stationary applications. Utilities around the world are avidly testing RFBs in pilot projects, while China is underway in the construction of the largest battery in the world (200 MW / 800 MWh), which will be entirely powered by redox flow batteries. If successful, this project will be replicated across the country and probably also in Europe and the US.

In this report, technology analyst Dr. Lorenzo Grande from IDTechEx analyses the different flow battery chemistries available from a technology standpoint (all-vanadium, all-iron, zinc/bromine, hydrogen/bromine, polysulphide, etc.) as well as by engaging with the world's main stakeholders (UET, Sumitomo, Primus Power, Gildemeister - just to name a few). Overall, 19 companies are included in this report, covering the whole RFB spectrum as well as all the main markets, namely USA, Europe, and Asia. The companies are compared in terms of their target markets and a series of case studies explains who are the most likely winners and why.

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RFBs operate by means of electro-active chemicals dissolved in liquid solutions that are named anolyte and catholyte, and which are stored into tanks. By exchanging ions through a membrane, it is possible to generate a cell voltage and extract energy out of such a system. The possibility to modulate both the tank and the membrane size independently allows for the decoupling of power and energy capabilities, thus making this technology extremely flexible and tailored to user needs.

Stationary energy storage is a cost-effective way to increase renewable energy utilisation, as well as to implement energy efficiency measures, both at residential, industrial, and grid level. The redox flow battery technology, despite higher upfront costs and lower energy density, has a shorter payback time thanks to a good capacity retention even after many thousands of cycles. Additionally, redox flow batteries (RFBs) retain most of their initial value thanks to the possibility to recycle their core components more easily than other battery chemistries. Some RFB chemistries, like that based on vanadium, are already commercial and set to capture most of the $4bn market value. Other chemistries, like zinc/bromine and hydrogen/bromine, have the potential to capture significant portions of the market thanks to high-profile collaborations and partnerships already in place.

Lithium-ion batteries will suffer a setback from the emergence of utility-grade flow batteries, which will contribute to ease the pressure on lithium resources that are more needed for electric mobility applications. One final interesting remark is that, with notable exceptions, a sizeable portion of the RFB industry is located in Europe and the US. The success of said companies will fuel the Western World's competitiveness against the Asian Li-ion incumbents.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • 1.1. Redox flow batteries will take over stationary storage

2. INTRODUCTION

  • 2.1. What is a battery?
    • 2.1.1. Electrochemistry definitions
    • 2.1.2. What does 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh) look like?
    • 2.1.3. Useful charts for performance comparison
  • 2.2. The battery trilemma
    • 2.2.1. Lessons from the computer industry
    • 2.2.2. Stationary energy storage is not new
    • 2.2.3. The increasingly important role of stationary storage
    • 2.2.4. New avenues for stationary storage
    • 2.2.5. Values provided at the customer side
    • 2.2.6. Values provided at the utility side
    • 2.2.7. Values provided in ancillary services
  • 2.3. Enter Tesla PowerWall
    • 2.3.1. The case for RFBs
    • 2.3.2. The price of RFBs
    • 2.3.3. The price of RFBs - LCOS
  • 2.4. Redox flow batteries in the news
  • 2.5. Largest operational RFB projects
    • 2.5.1. ARPA-E funding on RFBs

3. TYPES OF REDOX FLOW

  • 3.1. Gaseous and liquid electrodes
  • 3.2. Catholytes and anolytes
  • 3.3. Exploded view of an RFB and polarisation curve
  • 3.4. History of RFBs
  • 3.5. Choice of redox-active species and solvents
  • 3.6. Types of RFBs
    • 3.6.1. Types of RFBs
    • 3.6.2. RFB chemistries: Iron/Chromium
    • 3.6.3. RFB chemistries: PSB flow batteries
    • 3.6.4. RFB chemistries: Vanadium/Bromine
    • 3.6.5. RFB chemistries: all Vanadium (VRFB)
    • 3.6.6. Hybrid RFBs: Zinc/Bromine
    • 3.6.7. Hybrid RFBs: Hydrogen/Bromine
    • 3.6.8. Hybrid RFBs: all Iron
    • 3.6.9. Other RFBs: organic
    • 3.6.10. Other RFBs: non-aqueous
    • 3.6.11. Lab-scale flow battery projects
    • 3.6.12. Microflow batteries?
  • 3.7. Technology Recap
  • 3.8. Comparison with fuel cells and conventional batteries
  • 3.9. Hype Curve® for RFB technologies
  • 3.10. Other RFB configurations

4. MATERIALS FOR RFBS

  • 4.1. Membranes
  • 4.2. Current collectors
  • 4.3. Flow distributors and turbulence promoters
  • 4.4. Electrolyte flow circuit
  • 4.5. Raw materials for RFB electrolytes
    • 4.5.1. Vanadium and the steel industry

5. PROPERTIES OF RFBS

  • 5.1. Power and energy are decoupled
  • 5.2. Fit-and-forget philosophy
  • 5.3. Competing technologies: Li-ion
  • 5.4. Competing technologies: Na/S

6. REDOX FLOW FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES

  • 6.1. Liquid electricity
  • 6.2. General Electric
  • 6.3. Toyota
  • 6.4. nanoFlowcell

7. COST AND PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS

  • 7.1. Cost factors at electrolyte level
  • 7.2. Cost breakdown of a Vanadium-redox flow battery
  • 7.3. The effect of temperature and current density
  • 7.4. Zn/Br batteries from Primus Power in comparison
  • 7.5. Finding the right market
    • 7.5.1. Self-consumption according to Agora Energiewende
    • 7.5.2. Agora Energiewende's opinion
  • 7.6. RFB value chain

8. TECHNOLOGY AND MARKET READINESS

  • 8.1. Companies in this report
  • 8.2. Technology and manufacturing readiness
  • 8.3. Addressable markets for stationary storage
  • 8.4. Battery size by market and technology
  • 8.5. Score comparison

9. CASE STUDIES

  • 9.1. VRFB - UniEnergy Technologies (UET)
  • 9.2. VRFB - VoltStorage
  • 9.3. Zn/Br - Primus Power
  • 9.4. H/Br - EleStor

10. MARKETS FORECASTS

  • 10.1. Market forecast assumptions
  • 10.2. Global value of stationary storage 2017-2027 ($M)
  • 10.3. Global value of RFB storage 2017-2027 ($M)
    • 10.3.1. RFB market share snapshots
  • 10.4. Technology diversification (MWh)
    • 10.4.1. Technology diversification (MWh)

11. APPENDIX

  • 11.1. Technology and manufacturing readiness
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