UTRC’s Flow Battery Technology

“Power Up”

At 5-10 Times the Power Density, UTRC’s Flow Battery Technology is Changing Energy Distribution

Innovation isn’t always about making something new—sometimes it’s a matter of taking an existing idea and turning it into something revolutionary. For example, it’s not hard to see the potential traditional flow batteries have for energy storage and distribution: they are inherently safer, provide greater design flexibility, have higher life cycles and theoretically offer both high power and high energy in a single system. However the size of the cell stacks and the costly materials needed for construction have kept the technology from becoming commercially viable. But what if you were able to make those stacks smaller and less expensive without losing any of the power? In fact, what if the resulting system actually increases the power density by 5-10 times that of current flow battery technologies?

By researching and rethinking various aspects of flow battery technologies—including flow fields, membranes and electrodes—UTRC has developed an electrical energy storage system that outperforms current offerings in terms of capabilities and costs. UTRC’s flow battery energy storage technology eliminates the challenges of existing electrical-energy storage options, which are geographically limited, not scalable or are cost prohibitive. Now this safe, energy-efficient and deployable system has an opportunity to make other advancements in energy possible, such as turning solar and wind energy into a more dependable, 24/7 solution or creating a decentralized grid capable of handling the power for a cityscape. Through our willingness to consider what’s possible, UTRC has dramatically improved an existing technology. And, with that, has extended the bounds of energy production, storage, delivery and management, making way for dramatic changes in the way we power our lives.

Promising Opportunities

Decentralized Power: Able to be employed in off-grid or weak-grid applications, UTRC’s flow battery technology will work in concert with both renewable (but, stochastic) wind or solar power and dispatchable power, such as diesel generator sets, to provide this cost-effective, sustainable, continuous power. In addition, the scalability allows it to be deployed for applications ranging from cell towers (commercial-scale) to village-power systems (grid-scale). 

Commercial-Scale Peak Demand Use Reduction: The system will help to significantly reduce customers’ electricity bills by minimizing the amount of power purchased during peak times when rates are high or demand charges are applied. It will also provide Transmission and Distribution (T&D) infrastructure congestion relief, deferring the need for capital upgrades while ensuring dependable power.

Renewables Integration: UTRC’s Flow Battery technology can be used daily to convert irregular energy resources, such as wind and solar, into reliable 24/7 sources of power. In particular, the system produces a short-term surge capacity up to three times its rated power output, which is critical for addressing challenges of renewable energy time-shifting and smoothing.