Wind and solar power are increasingly popular sources for renewable energy. However, they have intermittency issues. A potential solution to this problem involves the deployment of long-duration battery technology, such as a redox flow battery. Costs, of course, are a key determining factor to real-world adoption.

Researchers at the University of Warwick, in collaboration with Imperial College London, have found a way to enhance hybrid flow batteries and their commercial use. The new approach can store electricity in these batteries for very long durations for about a fifth the price of current technologies, with minimal location restraints and zero emissions.

The technology combines carbon-based electrodes with economically sourced electrolytes, (manganese or sulphur, which are abundant chemicals) by means of a simple, yet highly effective electrophoretic deposition (EPD) of nano-carbon additives (nitrogen-doped graphene), which enhances the electrode durability and performance significantly in highly acidic or alkaline environments.

Dr. Barun Chakrabarti, a Research Fellow in WMG at the University of Warwick and one of the lead authors on the paper said: “This EPD technique is not only simple but also improves the efficiencies of three different economical hybrid flow batteries, thereby increasing their potential for widespread commercial adoption for grid-scale energy storage.”

The hybrid flow battery’s total chemical cost is about 1/30th the cost of competing batteries, such as lithium-ion systems.