A vanadium/mining industry PR firm has visited the site of an in development 200MW/800MWh vanadium flow battery in Dalian, China and noted that site work is ongoing. They also stated that most of the product that will fill the site – the vanadium batteries – is already built in the manufacturer’s nearby factory.

This battery is currently the largest planned chemical battery in the world, and part of a Chinese government investment to spur the technology.

The 200MW/800MWh vanadium flow battery (VFB) is manufactured by Rongke Power. Note in the featured image, which is the manufacturer’s facility, there are many solar panels, and a car port – probably has electric car charging spots under there as well.

The battery’s purpose is to provide power during peak hours of demand, to enhance grid stability and deliver juice during black-start conditions in case of emergency. The system is expected to peak-shave about 8% of Dalian’s expected load when it comes online in 2020.

The unit will be run by the main power company in coordination with other energy storage facilities located around the region. Nearby wind power facilities have been forced to curtail electricity production – these batteries hope to reduce that significantly.

@VanadiumWorld‘s world’s tweet:

Vanadium batteries have an expected lifetime of approximately 15,000 cycles, with zero degradation during the first 20 years.

The vertically-integrated battery manufacturer has deployed almost 30 similar projects, some attached to operating wind farms in the Liaoning province of China. The ‘Rongke GigaFactory’ opened in early 2017 with a phase 1 capacity of 300MW/year. Phase 2 and 3 have goals of 1 and 3 GW/year of production.

The battery is part of a push from the “China National Development and Reform Commission” to develop and deploy energy storage technology.

The most recent program from the commission awarded competitor Pu Neng, and others, more vanadium battery projects. The program has many goals, including plans to test:

10MW / 100MWh supercritical compressed air energy storage system, 10MW / 1000MJ grade flywheel energy storage array unit, 100MW lithium ion battery energy storage system, and large capacity new type of molten salt storage device.

Competitor Pu Neng’s vanadium flow battery:

Pu Neng chairman Robert Friedland, said:

“Earlier this year, Chairman Xie and I discussed the opportunity to utilize Hubei’s abundant vanadium resources and Pu Neng’s next generation technology to set a new benchmark for the global energy storage…Vanadium flow batteries (are) revolutionizing modern electricity grids in the way that lithium-ion batteries are enabling the global transition to electric vehicles.”

Tesla’s 100MW/129MWh is currently the largest chemical battery in operation. There’s talk of a 150MW battery coming online in South Korea soon that will be larger. A 100MW/400MWh battery is expected to come online in Los Angeles by 2021. All of these batteries are lithium-ion.

Electrek’s Take

Flow batteries are getting my attention. We recently covered residential flow batteries making a big move across Australia. The company, Redflow, saw their first piece of hardware built in their new Thai factory in the past two weeks.

Right now, it seems tech savvy people always bring up flow batteries when talking about large-scale grid applications. No degradation over 20 years is a pretty impressive feat from the perspective of an electricity utility or a financial analyst. 15,000 cycles – one per day – would be 41 years of usage. And from what I’ve read, you can repair the pieces that break.

I’ve also read that vanadium flow batteries already cost well below $500/kWh – and that some hope to see $150/kWh by 2020. That’s a competitive product. And if utilities like it better because it scales easier and has a longer lifetime, renewables will benefit.

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