What is a flow battery?

Posted on Jan 28, 2019
What is a flow battery?

Flow batteries are a class of electrochemical energy storage device that separates power from energy. In most arrangements, electrolytes are stored outside the electrochemical cell, and flow through the cell during the charging and discharging process. Cells may be joined together in a number of alternative configurations.

Flow batteries have numerous technical and commercial advantages including economies of scale, simplicity of operation and low cost of manufacture. Flow batteries are also known as redox flow batteries.

The need for all types of electrical energy storage continues to grow, and there is specific interest in the flow battery sector. Flow batteries have already been demonstrated in many forms in both stationary and mobile applications. A number of research groups are developing advanced materials and demonstrating improved performance.

Many companies are offering flow batteries as either individual systems or integrated into projects such as improved network performance, increased system reliability or the integration of renewable energy. Indeed, the increased use of renewable energy and the resulting pressure on optimising the performance of both large and small power networks has resulted in increased attention on a wide range of flow battery chemistries and product types.

This Forum brings together researchers from universities and commercial research groups, large and small development companies, materials, components and equipment suppliers, users and project developers in a conference to discuss the latest scientific, engineering and commercial aspects of flow batteries.

The extended abstracts and mini papers from each of the Forum meetings are available as hard copy for general sale and there are electronic copies of abstracts and presentations materials used at each Forum available, from the Past Papers page. These popular documents form a useful set of reference material on progress in Flow Battery research, design, development and commercialisation.

Schematic illustration of a redox flow battery by Zhaoxiang Qi and Gary M. Koenig Jr. is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0