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January 21, 2006


eric blair

Damn, you ARE good. You hit suppliers I didn't even know about.

Good job Sir!


Another thorough and excellent post! Cheers.

Michael Cain

Is there information about the cost, size, weight and such for smaller versions of such systems? IIRC, a typical household uses about 30 KWH per day; how big/expensive might a 60 KWH vanadium flow battery system be? Or are they really only practical in larger sizes?

Jim from The Energy Blog

I believe that VRB Power is concentrating on larger size units. Cellennium (Thailand) makes smaller units so they can be built. Zinc Bromine flow batteries that I will be writing about are made in the smaller sizes.

Adam Whitehead

Another manufacturer and supplier is EN-o-DE Energy on Demand GmbH (http://www.en-o-de.com).

Don Stephens


I was most pleased to encounter your Blog while investigating Vanadium Flow Batteries. I found the info provided to be excellent!

- Don Stephens, InA -
Innovating in passive solar and
alternative construction since 1960

P.S: you may want to visit my website, and explore the "Annualized Geo-solar" page there (and related PDF, linked at its bottom) for possible fodder for your "Solar-Thermal" catagory....This AGS method is providing up to 100% of winter heating for properly designed and insulated homes, from earth-stored summer sun, and can be done simply and at minimal initial cost. - Don

Raymond Woodard

I would like to know how this could be used in powering a single house.

John F.

> I would like to know how this could be used in powering a single house.

VRB Power Systems, which I believe has an exclusive license for vanadium redox flow batteries in North America, builds larger systems. The smallest stack I see in their literature is the 30KW system mentioned above, which is about 5 times what the average house needs.

Cellenium sounds like they were planning to build smaller systems as well, but they're very quiet. Their web site looks like it hasn't been updated since 2005, and their FAQ is at least 2 years older than that. Looks like they may be faltering.


Hey All....

Forgive my ignorance, I'm not a rocket scientist, but could this technology be scaled down for use in a car like the Chevy Volt concept car? (this concept would go about 40 miles on a battery alone, then an engine would kick in to charge the battery, not drive the car, just charge it)

They Checy people say they're waiting for battery technology to become more advanced, is this what they're waiting for?


Hey John F, I read a New Scientist article that got me interested in this and that postulated that in time when this technology gets better it could indeed be used in cars, and because of the way it all works with storage tanks, you would conceivably be able to fill up much like we do with petrol now... I'd love to get a small version of one of these so I could try going 'off-grid'...


Ahem, sorry, misread the way the comments are named.. that post was aimed at Max... Lol.

Peter Marsh

I visited the site looking for a battery that would be suitable for a single house solar system. It appears that many people are looking at home solar systems because the prices for equipment are getting much lower. A suitable small vanadium battery would be better than what is vailable elsewhere as far as I can tell so far but it doesn't seem to be avaiable. Is it available?


A lot of flow battery technologies look great, but at >$300/kwh it's restricted to niche markets. Prices will have to come down a LOT.

I have the naïve hope that Eestor is for real - especially at that price - that large ultra cap would be ideal for storing wind/solar/whatever electricity.

"uninterpretable power supplies"

Curious typo. "What's that, mister Power Supply? What do you mean, you're empty? I don't get it. No, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about."

Russ wood

patent is from 1986 should it not expire soon??

Adam Whitehead

The patent from 1986 has expired (maximum lifetime 20 years). Other companies are now making vanadium redox flow batteries (e.g. cellstrom)

Phil Goatly


How about a Vanadium Redox battery being charged from the grid overnight(Using Economy 7 @ 4p a unit) and also by PV cells.

In the day it is used to drive a heat pump delivering 3 kw for every 1Kw input.

Thus the cost of electricity if all came from the grid would be theoretically about 1.3p per unit.

With the PV cells as well even less per unit.

I have of course excluded the capital expenditure involved, which might be considerable.

Any comments?

Cheers, Phil

Adam Whitehead

Not a bad idea at all, we have actually worked on a system like this http://www.cellstrom.at/RAPS-House.57.0.html?&L=1
.The initial investment is rather high, but pays for itself over time, especially for larger houses.


New article in Discover magazine, discusses some of the topics that have come up in the comments here...

Article link:
The Element That Could Change the World
Making green energy work may depend on three unlikely heroes: an Australian engineer, a battery, and the element vanadium.

by Bob Johnstone, published online September 29, 2008


But I wonder why the technologies isn't "suitable" or appropriate for UPS applications, consider a VERY large UPS type application, such as a disaster recovery type data center (100s - 1000s of servers). They currently use banks of very large diesel generators that power up if the power goes down, with rooms of lead/acid batteries for power conditioning and to hold them till the generators kick in.

Jim Prall

Sadly, VRB Power Systems has filed for banruptcy, as of Nov. 2008:


They faced an uphill struggle of very novel technology (seen as risky for lack of field experience) plus the lack of strong pricing incentives for their potential benefits (turning intermittent renewables into firm power, plus power quality benefits.)

I really believe this strategy could work out commercially in the future, once we see U.S. and worldwide application of a serious price on CO2 emissions (cap & trade, carbon tax, or both), plus the onset of "peak oil" and a possible shift to more electric drive for personal vehicles.

Ashish Choudhary

Dear Sir/Madam

Our company is a leading manufacturer of inverters and UPS with a very wide range products from 600VA to 100Kva for any other query please visit our company website: www.inverterupsindia.com ; www.kevinsolutions.net

We checked and studied about VBR batteries, also checked your products from your company website, we are very intrested in these types of batteries.
So, please send us the complete details of your VRB batteries and your product range with complete price list to proceed further

Hope for positive and soon reply.
Best Regards,

Ashish Choudhary
Overseas Manager

[email protected]

Simon Zheng

Good job!
Sir, I come from China and am searching a way to develp energy peak shaving technology. Thank you for your information.
I noticed you have not coment V-fuel pty ltd in Australia. How about products from them?


JD Holdings subsidiary, Prudent Energy (http://www.pdenergy.com/) of Beijing, China has acquired the intellectual property rights and assets to the VRB Power Energy Storage System (VRB-ESS). In Feb 2009, Prudent Energy acquired a world-wide license to SEI's patents and technology (excluding Japan).

See http://www.vrbpower.com/docs/news/2008/Asset-Sale-January20-09.doc

VRB Energy Storage solutions are still alive!


Can anyone explain the true financial benefits of "turning intermittent renewables into firm power"? This includes providing intermittent peak power such as the Beacon Power business model. Flow batteries have been around for so long, enough time to mature... what are the true cost targets (per kWh and kW) to realize real market financial benefits?

oilfield equipment

this is such great technology. i wish they would expand on this.

oilfield equipment

are they going to push this technology in the future.

Charles R. Toca

Utility Savings & Refund, LLC is selling the Prudent Energy vanadium redox flow battery. Check www.utility-savings.com for current potential applications and ARRA opportunities in California.

fit flops

Hey man that was really a fantastic blog you share with us, its really a nice and very helpful for us and for all who read this nice blog..


My company purchases spent vanadium base materials; if anyone deals in such materials please e-mail me.


My company purchases spent vanadium base materials; if anyone deals in such materials please e-mail me.

[email protected]


Looking for vanadium battery to be used in golf carts. I live in a area that use golf carts as a transpertation for lots of people.


Wat you mentioned here is about the production of higher power out put.Can you give me an idea for making a small vrb unit.

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Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well.


Killian O' Connor

Hi folks,

Can anybody tell me the typical operating temperatures of a VRB? I've seen conflicting data on a number of sites.


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Redox is the term used to describe electrochimical reactions in which energy is stored in two solutions with electrochemical potentials sufficiently separated from each other to provide an electromotive force to drive the oxidation-reduction reactions.

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The patent from 1986 has expired (maximum lifetime 20 years). Other companies are now making vanadium redox flow batteries (e.g. cellstrom)

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I read that the extremely large capacities possible from vanadium redox batteries make them well suited to use in large power storage applications such as helping to average out the production of highly variable generation sources such as wind or solar power, or to help generators cope with large surges in demand.

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If the patent has expired this would explain why companies all over the world are working to manufacture and sell vanadium redox flow batteries. I wonder if this technology will cross over into the personal digital market...?


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The durability and wide design options of vanadium batteries promise large markets for many applications, such as load leveling, storage in renewable energy systems (e.g. wind and solar) and uninterpretable power supplies.

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New South Wales (UNSW) in early 1980's. The Australian Pinnacle VRB bought the basic patents in 1998 and licensed them to Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI) and VRB Power Systems.

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