Date: Mar 29, 2019

CMBlu Energy AG and Mann+Hummel GmbH have signed an agreement for the joint development and industrialization of energy converters for organic redox flow batteries. The companies said they aim to support electric mobility through the development of the charging infrastructure and to offer the energy sector a sustainable and highly cost-efficient storage technology for a successful energy transition.

The business idea for redox flow batteries with organic electrolytes derived from lignin (‘organic flow’) was already conceived in 2011 and since 2014, CMBlu said it has carried out intensive research and development. These batteries essentially consist of two tanks of liquid electrolyte and an energy converter, which consists of a large number of adjacent rows of cells and is therefore also referred to as a battery stack. The liquids are pumped through the battery stacks and is charged or discharged as required.

The technology developed by CMBlu has now reached the prototype stage. The further development and industrialization of the battery stack is regulated in the long-term cooperation agreement with Mann+Hummel. For this purpose Mann+Hummel has created a spin-off named i2M GmbH (innovation-to-market), which is dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative technologies.

In the next step Mann+Hummel will build a complete production line in a European plant. CMBlu will realize special pilot projects with reference customers in the next two years. Starting in 2021, CMBlu plans to market the first commercial systems.

Similar to the principle of conventional redox flow batteries, CMBlu said its Organic Flow Batteries store electrical energy in aqueous solutions of organic chemical compounds derived from lignin that are pumped through the energy converter, i.e. battery stack. The special feature of the flow batteries is that the capacity and electrical output can be scaled independently. The number of stacks defines the output of the batteries. A higher number of stacks multiplies the output. The capacity of the battery is only limited by the size of the tanks. This allows flexible customization to take into account the respective application area. For example, solar power can be stored for several hours and then fed into the grid at night, the companies said.

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