News

Uniper, CMBlu Recharge Energy Transition With Organic Solid-flow Battery Technology

September 12, 2022 by Stephanie Leonida

Uniper and CMBlu plan to establish an organic solid-flow battery-based energy storage system with an initial output of 1 megawatt and a capacity of 1 megawatt-hour.

Uniper SE, an energy company based in Düsseldorf, Germany, and a subsidiary of Fortum Corp., has announced its entry into a collaboration with CMBlu Energy AG, a specialist in Organic Solid-Flow Battery (OSFB) technology. Uniper and CMBlu aim to provide the world with more sustainable power to facilitate the energy transition and combat the climate crisis.

Energy Storage Based on Solid-Flow Battery Tech

The collaborative venture focuses on establishing a large-scale energy storage system based on CMBlu’s solid-flow battery technology. Uniper and CMBlu plan to install the system at Uniper’s Staudinger power plant in Großkrotzenburg, just east of Frankfurt. Eventually, the duo intends to integrate the system into the site’s existing infrastructure and complete certification. Operations should go live in 2023.

Keeping up With Energy Demand

The world is stepping up with more innovative sustainable technologies and solutions in a world where the climate crisis is driving the burgeoning demand for clean, low-carbon power generation. But can humanity keep pace with the rise in electric vehicles, electric aircraft, and evolving electricity infrastructures that require more advanced transmission, distribution, and storage?

President Biden brought in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to address the climate crisis. Under this “once-in-a-generation investment,” $7.5 billion is being funneled into what is set to be the first national network of EV chargers in the U.S to date. Further investment of more than$65 billion will be used to update America’s existing power infrastructure and facilitate renewable energy integration.

Expanding Energy Storage Systems

How might power grids hold up with increasing energy demand, and what is the best way to utilize renewables to provide resiliency?

Renewable energy sources (i.e., solar, wind, or wave power) are, by nature, intermittent or otherwise unpredictable—and highly so when considering today’s rapidly changing climate. With a changing climate also comes unpredictability in weather events, disrupting power grid operations and causing outages. For residential homes, businesses, and industrial facilities, this is an inconvenience at the very least and especially so for emergency centers.

The world is moving toward backup energy storage systems leveraging innovative technology to mitigate the fallout of such circumstances.

The Next Generation of Flow Battery Technology

Together, Uniper and CMBlu aim to trial the use of a prototype electricity storage system that utilizes CMBlu’s sustainable OSFB technology.

The word “redox” in redox flow batteries describes oxidation and reduction reactions during battery discharging and charging. These types of batteries typically employ two liquid electrolytes in separate tanks to store energy. As the electrolytes move or “flow” through a stack of electrochemical cells, chemical energy is converted into electrical energy.

CMBlu’s batteries use organic electrolytes that can be recycled and reused to reduce unnecessary waste typically associated with traditional lithium-ion batteries (LiBs). Compared to traditionally used metal-based electrolytes, CMBlu uses carbon-based particles. Using a carbon-based medium supports a high cycle life to meet the requirements of potentially demanding applications.

Compared to the cycle life of LiBs (about 3,000 charging cycles), CMBlu’s OSFBs can have a potentially unlimited cycle life if properly maintained. Regarding battery capacity, LiBs fall into the multi-megawatt (MWh) range, while CMBlu’s OSFBs fall within the gigawatt (GWh) range. According to CMBlu, its OSFBs do not use flammable or explosive materials otherwise used in LiBs and can provide an efficiency of 90%.

Energy storage systems can help with storing energy generated from renewable resources. Image used courtesy of Uniper

In a recent news release, Uniper’s Head of Innovation, Arne Hauner, explained that the growth in electrification across housing and industry “is leading to a growing need for base-load capability from renewable energies to maintain the security of supply.”

If the prototype energy system at Uniper’s Staudinger power plant proves successful, the duo intends to expand the facility.

Featured image used courtesy of Adobe Stock