ENEL GP, IIT and BEDIMENSIONAL: new vanadium batteries, innovation and sustainability

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Enelgreen Power, Iit and Bedimensional: together towards the ecological transition

New graphene electrodes have been developed for vanadium flow batteries, with an energy efficiency of 94%

This patented technology will allow the energy collected from renewable sources, such as wind and photovoltaic, to be stored more efficiently

 

Genoa 08/06/2021

A research team from the Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), in collaboration with Enel Green Power and the start-up Bedimensional, have recently published a work describing a new type of electrode with graphene, capable of making current vanadium flux batteries more efficient, reaching 94% energy efficiency. This technology is used to store energy from renewable sources, such as wind or photovoltaic, energy collection systems that will see a significant development in the coming years.

The development of vanadium flux batteries with high power density and high energy efficiency is considered crucial for the future of energy storage in stationary systems. Compared to traditional methods for storing energy obtained from renewable sources, vanadium flux batteries are more sustainable and safer. Vanadium can be recovered from residues of industrial steel production or from the combustion of by-products in thermoelectric power plants, as opposed to lithium, as the extraction of which is becoming  increasingly less sustainable. In addition, flow batteries have an operating system with less criticality in terms of overload and overheating and do not require difficult control systems to increase their safety as in the case of traditional lithium batteries.

In this study, the research team demonstrated that the addition of graphene to commercial graphite electrodes (felts), through a new conception process, allows us to reach energy efficiencies of almost 94% for this type of batteries, with a competitive additional cost compared to the current market, characterized by efficiency levels of 80%.

“This is a perfect example of how the use of two-dimensional materials, such as graphene, can significantly improve the performance of commercial electrodes” – says Francesco Bonaccorso, Direttore Scientifico of BeDimensional, IIT visiting Scientist and coordinator of the research team. “This approach, combined with the industrial production of graphene, will have a positive impact on the commercialization of flow batteries”.

“It is good news that confirms the strong impact of Italian research in the challenge of sustainability and ecological transition and marks a flattering success of the relationship and collaboration between industry and research. Transferring the core of our research to the market, through the creation of patents, is one of our missions and the result of this work is a clear demonstration of how IIT research can create virtuous synergies with the major industrial players of the country.” Giorgio Metta DS IIT.

The collaboration between Enel Green Power and IIT, with the subsequent entry of BeDimensional, the start-up that produces graphene and two-dimensional materials, has in fact led to the filing of a patent that will help this new production process of electrodes for vanadium flow batteries to reach the market within the next 3 years, in order to be ready for the enhancement of the renewable energy collection systems designed by the Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza (PNRR) as part of mission 2, where the investment will be approximately 70 billion euros.

For further information: “Graphene-Based Electrodes in a Vanadium Redox Flow Battery Produced by Rapid Low-Pressure Combined Gas Plasma Treatments”.

 

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