Vanadium – Help Yourself

Date: Nov 08, 2017

A spin-off from the surge in green energy solutions in recent years (particularly wind and solar) is that the world is now awash in electricity that is not generated when it is wanted or needed but rather when the sun shines and the wind blows. This is not exactly the best way to run a grid management system. The missing part of this equation is storage devices to stash away this power for, quite literally, a rainy day.

Some bizarre suggestions for “do it yourself” story have emanated from Tesla but as with everything from that source it’s more a case of form over content. What is needed is a realistic means by which either the power generator (in some cases households) or the grid operator can store up the energy for when it’s really needed and thus flatten the peak load problem that has bedeviled electricity distributors since the dawn of the modern age.

The solution, many knowledgeable observers believe, may very well lie in the Vanadium Redox Battery (VRB).

The South Australian Experience

The Australian state of South Australia is not exactly a place that is seen as being very innovative. If the rest of the world knows about it then it’s primarily for its wine production. What the state does have in abundance is sunshine and this led to high levels of uptake of solar panels. However to put this in perspective the southern part of the state (where the bulk of the people live in the city of Adelaide) has nowhere near as many cloudless days as say, Nevada or Arizona.

There are solar panels everywhere these days (though not as many as there might be) and yet few places have come up with as comprehensive a policy as to exploit them as South Australia has. As a result the state is already being hailed for its leadership on renewable energy technology. Its efforts have been styled as “a consumer-powered grid”.

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