Vanadium Flow Batteries, Cheaper and Safer than Tesla like Lithium-ion Technology

Uni-technologies vanadium flow batteries
Uni-technologies vanadium flow batteries

Vanadium Flow Batteries  may be a better option than Lithium-ion

UniEnergy Technologies (UET) announced the commissioning of a 1 MW Uni.System™ energy storage system with a maximum energy capacity of 4MWh in Pullman, Wash. This is the largest capacity vanadium flow battery operating in North America and Europe.

The Uni.System’s flexibility to deliver power and energy applications simultaneously multiplies the system’s value compared to traditional batteries that provide either power or energy, but not both. UET provides an “all-in-one” grid-scale solution.

Cheaper, safer and more reliable the Tesla like lithium-ion technology

The Uni.System’s levelized cost ($/total GWh delivered over 20 year life) is multiple times lower than the cost of lithium ion systems such as Tesla. Those have limited availability of their energy, degrade in capacity, are flammable, and have ¼ to ½ the lifetime of the Uni.System.

The Uni.System will be used by the customer, Avista Utilities, for load shifting, frequency regulation, and conservation voltage regulation on the Turner distribution circuit. The UET solution will also support Avista’s end-user, manufacturer Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), with UPS, black start, and 4-cycle ride-through. The project is funded in part by the Washington State Clean Energy Fund, proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee and approved by the Legislature in 2013. Over $14 million in matching grants were awarded to Avista, Puget Sound Energy, and Snohomish Public Utility District for projects to demonstrate battery technologies in the electrical grid. As a result, Washington is now one of the market leaders in energy storage in the U.S.


Heather Rosentrater, PE, Avista Director of Engineering and Grid Innovation, commented:

Avista selected UET’s Uni.System advanced vanadium battery because it aligns with our objectives to use highly flexible grid-scale energy storage to reduce costs, enhance reliability, integrate renewables into our electric grid, and explore how smart grid technology can benefit our customers. The Uni.System battery meets all of these objectives – we can use 100 percent of its state-of-charge, with unlimited cycles, and a 20 year life. We want the battery to be 100 percent flexible to operate at all times, providing as many simultaneous value streams as possible.

UET’s CEO, Gary Yang, said:

UET and Avista have collaborated as close partners to install and operate the largest capacity flow battery in North America and Europe. Avista’s vision and implementation of grid-scale energy storage as part of a distributed energy resource system make it a leader in the power industry. UET is not shy to say it has the best grid-scale energy storage solution at the best levelized cost, maximizing value for the customer.

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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