Friday, April 8, 2011

Giant futuristic batteries to power 2,000 households

Renewable energy like solar and wind may help to save the planet, but a key challenge is storing the power they generate for dark or low-wind periods.
One approach for large-scale energy storage systems are redox flow batteries, which are basically large tanks with flowing electrolytes.
Researchers from several Fraunhofer Institutes are working jointly to develop these scalable fluid batteries with a goal of one day building a handball-court-sized battery installation with a capacity of 20 MWh – enough energy to provide power to roughly 2,000 households through a long winter’s night or an overcast day.
They still have a long way to go. Currently, they have a working demo based on a 2-kW plant that is on display at the Hannover Messe conference this week. A 20-kW plant is scheduled to go into operation at the end of next year and the researchers hope to cross the megawatt threshold in roughly five years.

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