CellCube plans to deploy flow battery energy storage system in Australia

European flow battery energy storage system provider CellCube has formed an R&D partnership in Australia, hoping to gain a foothold in the country's long-duration energy storage market.

CellCube, a subsidiary of Austria-based technology provider Enerox, has partnered with BESS Research, an Australian battery research organization.

The two companies will collaborate to study how the CellCube vanadium redox flow battery can help meet Australia's demand for all-weather low-carbon energy, and to pilot a 2MW/8MWh vanadium flow battery energy storage system.

October 18, 2022

The two companies expect to be able to develop a localized version of the CellCube vanadium flow battery energy storage system for the Australian market, which they claim could be on sale in the second half of 2023. Their original goal was to build commercial and industrial (C&I) microgrids, and CellCube is also pursuing opportunities elsewhere in the world.

CellCube said commercial and industrial (C&I) entities in Australia are actively seeking to adopt energy storage systems lasting more than four hours to decarbonize their operations.

The company expects to market flow battery energy storage systems to customers in remote locations, harsh climates, and industrial facilities that require versatile energy storage systems that are durable and long-lasting.

BESS Research will procure the components, software and service solutions required for the trial deployment from CellCube, and can adapt or add elements to the flow battery energy storage system design to meet the specific needs of the Australian market.

The source and scale of the supply of raw materials and components is an important aspect of commercializing any technology, and although vanadium flow batteries were actually invented in Australia, the country's only vanadium mine, Windimurra, went bankrupt and closed a few years ago. .

The project will be deployed in Western Australia, with proton exchange membrane developer Nanomem also participating in the project.

Nanomem is helping the two companies improve proton exchange membranes, a key part of the design of vanadium flow battery energy storage systems, while ensuring a localized supply of vanadium electrolytes.

The Australian federal and state governments have also clearly stated the goal of developing expertise and an industrial base for battery manufacturing, including lithium-ion and flow batteries.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has set Australia's first national clean energy target - 82% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The Australian Government has provided financial support to support these efforts, and entities have been developing vanadium production, processing and electrolyte manufacturing facilities domestically. CellCube entered into a partnership agreement with Australian Vanadium in 2020.

By far, Australia's most famous flow battery manufacturer is Redflow, which mainly produces energy storage systems based on zinc bromide electrolytes rather than vanadium pentoxide.

Andrew McKee, managing director of Nanomem, said: “We are facing higher demand for megawatt-scale energy storage systems in remote locations. Australian customers want to see a successful proof-of-concept project using a megawatt-scale battery storage system, It’s an energy storage technology that can provide power for hours on end, and it’s an energy storage technology that can get financing guarantees, and it’s able to tap into funds through a power purchase agreement (PPA).”

CellCube's target market also includes the United States. Earlier this year, the company reached a five-year vanadium electrolyte supply agreement with US. Towards, a US vanadium electrolyte supplier. CellCube launched a US subsidiary in May this year and announced a 2MW/8MWh commercial and industrial (C&I) microgrid project in Illinois a few months later.

CellCube and South African energy asset developer Kibo Energy signed an agreement to deploy a 1GW vanadium flow battery energy storage system in May this year.

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