Redox Flow Battery Maker UET Partners with Chemistry Firm Chemours

April 19, 2019 by Scott McMahan

UniEnergy Technology LLC (UET), reports that it has partnered with chemistry firm, Chemours Company. UET is a redox flow battery (RFB) manufacturer headquartered in Mukilteo, Washington. Their redox flow battery technology is based on a new, third generation, patented electrolyte developed at Pacific Northwest National Labs (PNNL) under the support of the US DOE OE Energy Storage Program.

The Chemours Company is a global chemistry company and maker of fluoroproducts.

According to UET, the electrolyte offers a practically doubled energy density due to a higher solubility and a higher utilization of the active vanadium species. (See the diagram of UET's new generation Vanadium redox flow battery above).

UET's redox flow battery technology reportedly offers long run time, maintaining full storage capacity over 20 years, scalability and improved safety profile. The companies expect UET's redox flow batteries to provide a competitive, long-term energy storage solution.

UET points out that the most significant barrier to the widespread adoption of renewable energy has been finding a long-duration, flexible and scalable way to store this energy. This energy storage should ensure intermittent renewable resources work directly for consumers and utilities when the sun doesn't shine, and the wind doesn't blow. Chemours believes flow batteries are the answer to this barrier.

For the strategic partnership, Chemours will invest in UET. Also under the terms of the partnership, Chemours agreed to supply its Nafion™ ion exchange membranes to UET in a long-term and exclusive supply agreement. Chemours says that the strategic partnership with UET will enable it to further develop and optimize the Nafion™ product for applications in energy storage, and ultimately raise the competitiveness and accelerate the adoption of flow batteries.

The energy market is expected to provide a key growth area for Chemours' Fluoroproducts business. As smart grids develop and energy storage needs increase, the use of fluoropolymers in renewable energy generation and storage applications is forecast to grow about 20 percent annually over the next ten years, Chemours says.

The UET Advanced Vanadium Flow Battery, the ReFlex™, offers crucial buffering between bulk energy generation and sustainable energy use. Energy generated from inherently variable renewables, as well as from other grid resources can be stored with the ReFlex battery. Then, when optimal for the grid and/or at the micro-grid, it is released for use. With the ReFlex battery, this buffering can be in a wide range of time scales, from less than a second to hours, and even days, and the control system can run many applications.

"A major component of our growth strategy is shifting from a product orientation to a more market orientation," said Paul Kirsch, president of Chemours Fluoroproducts business. "We believe this strategic partnership allows us to be at the forefront of this new energy storage technology and provides us greater insight into the needs of this emerging market from the end user perspective," he added.

"Chemours is establishing itself as a new kind of chemistry company, and I believe this partnership is another example," said Mark Vergnano, CEO of Chemours. "The partnership aligns well with our recently announced Corporate Responsibility Commitments by not only enabling the competitiveness and proliferation of renewable energy but doing so with Chemours unique membrane technology that works together with a fully recyclable electrolyte," he added.