With the onset of the war in the Ukraine, it has become clearer than ever that the European Union must work towards its energy independence and self-sufficiency. However, the EU must also avoid jeopardising its climate commitments by turning back towards fossil fuels. Instead, the EU must stand firm in its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, which includes the transition to a renewable-based energy system. Flow batteries, as an important long-duration storage technology, can play a significant role in supporting this transition.
Since renewable energy is inherently variable, solutions are needed to ensure power availability and grid stability. Curtailment is not only highly inefficient, but is also costing a lot to the EU Member States. For example, in 2020, Germany curtailed 5900 GWh of wind energy, or about 5% of its total production, costing EUR 730 million in total.1 In the same year, Austria curtailed 80% of its wind production at 5590 GWh, costing EUR 510 million.2 It is possible to substantially increase the proportion of generation from renewable energy, provided that the energy system is set up to be more flexible and allow to add capacity, shift energy, and improve power quality through energy storage solutions. Energy storage technologies therefore have a fundamental role to play in the clean energy transition, ensuring that more renewable energy can be introduced and used efficiently within our power system.

Download the full statement here: http://jens-noack.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Flow-batteries-and-security-of-supply-position-paper-final.pdf

SONAR attended the autumn school of the Nordic Flow Battery Network

At the end of November 2021, the autumn school of the “Nordic Flow Battery Network” took place in Turku, Finland. It was hosted by the University of Turku under the leadership of the EU-funded COMPBAT project. Similar to SONAR, COMPBAT is concerned with the development of a high-throughput screening process to search for new organic active materials for redox flow batteries.

Over the three-day event, a variety of speakers reported on different topics in the research and development of redox flow batteries. PhD students were given the opportunity to present posters on their work, give talks or exchange information. The last day of the autumn school was entirely organised by the PhD students in Turku. The speakers were from a mixture of academic and commercial backgrounds, so that application-related content was also presented beside basic research.

Among the invited speakers were Prof. Dr. Piotr de Silva from the Technical University of Denmark and Prof. Dr. Jens Noack from Fraunhofer ICT, who are both involved in SONAR. Piotr gave a talk on DFT calculations (DFT – density functional theory) in general and specifically in relation to flow batteries. Jens gave a short overview of the development of flow batteries over the last 15 years at Fraunhofer ICT.