Objective of the VR-ENERGY project
The rise in the global deployment of wind and solar generation creates a new challenge for the energy industry: managing the increased volatility in electricity generation. Electricity storage, by allowing supply and demand to be balanced at all times, can help manage this volatility and create a stable and flexible power system. Used in conjunction with renewables, energy storage has the potential to be a game changer for the energy industry. However, significant improvement in renewable energy efficiency coupled with rapid costs reductions have set a challenged for the storage sector. For energy storage to be commercially viable and implemented on a large scale, costs need to fall dramatically: indeed cost reduction is one of the principal objectives of this relatively new sector.
HydraRedox’s vanadium redox storage systems are made of two sections – power and energy. The VR-ENERGY project focuses on the optimizing the power section, which at is present the most expensive to produce. The ultimate objective of the VR-ENERGY project is to scale up the HydraRedox storage system to 1MW power with 4 hours of storage - driving costs lower while maintaining high efficiency - and to become a worldwide leader in the large scale energy storage market.
The VR-ENERGY project work plan is divided into 5 work packages (WP). WP1 is dedicated to Project Management and includes Risk and IP management. WP2-WP4 are the technical work packages. WP5 covers the commercialization and communication activities.
VR-Energy Project Management
The overall objective of WP1 is to ensure that all aspects of the VR Energy work plan are appropriately managed throughout the duration of the project (24 months) and all administrative aspects are undertaken and delivered according to EC requirements.
- Ensuring that the technical developments in the project are carried out in accordance with the work plan and associated projected budget
- Overseeing the project and maintain optimal use of resources in order to maximize project success
- Ensuring that all legal, contractual and financial obligations are upheld in the appropriate manner
- Monitoring aspects of gender, equality, ethical and social issues
- Ensuring an efficient existing IP management and the strategic protection of the new technology
Fine tuning of system parameters before VRB plant scaling up to 1MW
The second work package WP2, with a duration of 12 months, lays out the technical ground work before the scaling up of the technology in WP3 and WP4. The aim is to fine tune the system's parameters to determine which combination of active area and operating current density provides the most cost effective solution for further system scaling up.This will be carried out in part with the help of a subcontractor, Gnanomat, company specializing in nanomaterials.
- Furthering the feasibility assessment and carrying out testing on how to increase power without increasing system costs and without reducing the global efficiency
- Determining the most cost effective system parameters, i.e. which combination of size/current density provides the lowest costs at the higher efficiency (i.e. maintaining it >80%)
- Installing a sub-section of the 1MW plant and operating it at different current densities
- Performing a technical/economic analysis of the most optimal system parameters in terms of cost
Testing of new nanomaterials for improved global storage efficiency
The third work package WP3 is dedicated to the testing of novel materials by collaborating with a subcontractor, Gnanomat, which specializes in nanomaterials development. The target is to achieve a global efficiency of >80% when operating the cells at 3 times the nominal load.
- Developing new conductive adhesives based on graphene based polymer composites (graphene and graphene/metals combinations, dispersed in thermoplastic or thermosetting polymers) for their use as adhesives for the electrical connections
- Improving the global efficiency through the use of these novel materials and nanomaterials specifically adapted for their use as the cell electrodes/electric connections
- Testing the performance of the new materials with single frames of the cell in simulated operational environment, as a way of extrapolating the results to the whole system operated in real operational conditions.
1 MW large scale demonstration plan installation, operation and certification
This WP involves the installation, operation and certification of our final large scale (1MW) demonstration plant. Based on the results achieved in the previous two work packages, WP2 and WP3, the plant will be designed to achieve the best cost/performance parameters and will be tested in a real operational environment. This will be carried out with the help of a subcontractor, Proycon, an engineering and construction company.
- Designing the large-scale DEMO plant to achieve the best cost/performance parameters, based on WP2 and WP3
- Installing and operating the large-scale DEMO plant of 1 MW
- Testing the large-scale DEMO plant efficiency (target energy efficiency >80%) in real operational conditions by charging and discharging the electrolyte (4 MWh energy storage capacity) at constant voltage and increased current densities to determine precisely the expected efficiency of the plant when operated in real conditions
- Certifying the large-scale DEMO plant for its operation in a real environment, i.e. connected to wind turbines or solar PV plants
Commercialization, Dissemination and Communication
The final work package, WP5, is dedicated to the ongoing dissemination of information and communication throughout the duration of the project as well as the preparation of a comprehensive commercialization plan. This work package starts at the beginning of the project and will reflect the project outputs and advances in order to involve on an on-going basis the key stakeholders which will contribute to the successful exploitation of the VR-ENERGY results.
- Developing the Commercialization Plan for the successful exploitation of the VR-Energy solution.
- Defining the strategy to involve key stakeholders to get the products into the market
- Defining the Communication Strategy Plan activities to promote the VR-Energy project and to guarantee the widest distribution of the novel technology