IIT Madras on alternatives to conventional batteries

IIT madras, redox flow battery, energy storage, lead acid batteries, lithium ion
Research into vanadium redox flow battery stack development opens up possibilities for indigenous fabrication of flow battery stacks by MSME units for domestic and grid-level energy storage applications.

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras researchers have made significant advances in developing alternatives to conventional lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries for industrial usage. Such advances are crucial as India is aiming to achieve 40% of its electricity generation from non-fossil fuel sources such as solar and wind by 2030. IIT Madras researchers have filed two patents and presented this in numerous conferences, besides publishing research papers in reputed peer-reviewed journals.

Research into vanadium redox flow battery stack development opens up possibilities for indigenous fabrication of flow battery stacks by MSME units for domestic and grid-level energy storage applications. The research was conducted by Dr Ravendra Gundlapalli, PhD scholar, and Prof Sreenivas Jayanti, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, and their team. Prof Jayanti said, “Our team at IIT Madras is probably the first team in India to design, fabricate and execute indigenous kW-scale vanadium redox flow battery for application in energy storage, which can be integrated into renewable sources such as solar and wind energy. We have developed operating protocols and design criteria for flow battery stack of power rating up to 10 kW using the prototype of a practical size that can be directly employed in industrial-scale stacks for grid-level storage.”

This project has been supported by grants from the Ministry of Education and Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and involved researchers from the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering and the Central Electronics Centre of IIT Madras.

Dr Gundlapalli added that the typical life of a solid-state battery is three to five years; vanadium flow batteries are commercially available with a warranty of 15-20 years. “From a fire safety point of view, vanadium flow batteries are extremely safe as the electrolytes are not combustible and thermal runaway possibilities are practically nil,” Dr Gundlapalli said.

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