A good number of energy storage firms are bent on searching for solutions to the apparent inability of flow batteries to withstand longer charge and discharge cycles.
Generally, flow battery technologies all work in much the same way. However, startup firm, ViZn Energy System’s flow battery technology is quite unique in the sense that it uses an alkaline-based solution instead of acid-based materials such as zinc, bromine, and vanadium, among others.
Vizn’s alkaline solution was an offshoot of Lockheed Martin’s years of lab trials using alkaline materials in battery solutions to eliminate dendrite formations in its closed batteries. While the latter succeeded in eliminating dendrites, new clump-like formations have appeared on the electrodes posing another setback to battery performance.
ViZn however saw that these “clumps” presented a unique advantage for its flow batteries. Through tests, it turned out that they increase the surface area where electrochemical reactions take place. When this happens, power from flow batteries ramps up, making it possible to shift rapidly to high power when needed.
The company has started to deploy its flow battery using an initial funding of $20 million. Vizn believes it has the capability to compete with other energy storage technologies, claiming that its alkaline-based flow battery can sustain 20,000 charge and discharge cycles. However, they will have to prove this still on a large-scale setting.
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