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Friday, 20 January 2012

Battery tech firm Red-T: Long-life battery system stores electrical energy in liquid form

Jan 20, 2011

A Dublin-based flow battery technology company called Red-T has just raised €900,000 in funding led by AIB Seed Capital Fund, Dublin BIC, Enterprise Ireland and its CEO.

Clontarf-headquartered Red-T has an R&D facility in Reading, England. The company has developed a unique battery technology.

RED-T's technology is a Vanadium-based flow battery which enables the cheap and efficient storage of electrical energy in liquid form. The technology has a variety of applications, including mobile masts, electric vehicles and renewable energy power stations. 

The potential to solve the two major obstacles to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles: excessive down time for recharging, and short-lived, high-cost batteries.

The patented Electric Vehicle Refuelling System (EVRS), an electric vehicle powered by an ENIFY vanadium redox battery can be rapidly recharged by removing the spent electrolyte and simultaneously replacing it with charged electrolyte. It’s just like refilling a diesel vehicle, except that a four-way sealed nozzle system is used to extract spent electrolyte and introduce fully charged electrolyte at the same time. There are some differences compared to diesel – the fuel is not flammable or hazardous to handle, it is not burned and does not give off harmful emissions, and it is continuously reusable once it has been recharged.

The lack of a refueling infrastructure, combined with the relatively low energy density of vanadium redox batteries (up to 35 Wh per litre, compared to 100 Wh per litre for lithium-ion batteries) makes them currently impractical as a means of powering long-distance electric vehicles. However, the EVRS system combined with the ENIFY batteries is ideal for electric vehicles such as city buses and delivery vehicles, which operate within a relatively small area, have short journey times, and return frequently to base.

In these situations, vehicles powered by vanadium redox batteries offer two significant advantages over vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries:
  • They can be refuelled rapidly (in around five minutes, typically), making them more practical for “workhorse” situations where they are in use for up to 18 hours per day.
  • They have lower operating costs per kilometre. The fuel is untaxed and the batteries are infinitely reusable.
Of course, electric vehicles powered by a vanadium redox battery can also be charged directly from solar, wind, or off-peak grid energy.

This technology represents a paradigm shift in energy storage, and ultimately, the complete displacement of conventional fossil fuel power with renewable generation. It relies on the reaction of different valence forms of the same element, Vanadium, the system has unlimited life, with a long cycle life between component replacement (about 10,000 full cycles).

The initial markets for the system will be the remote power and communications market, which is valued at an estimated $6.8bn. Initial customers for the system are located worldwide, including in Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ukraine, Russian federation, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and The Philippines.

John Ward, CEO and co-founder of RED-T, said: "This investment in RED-T is a very significant milestone, we intend to recruit highly skilled engineers and sales professionals to enable us to further strengthen our core offering and build market share in key international markets."

Scott McGregor, RED-T director and CEO of CAMCO, the majority shareholder of RED-T, added: "This round of financing is a major step towards commercialising the technology to provide a low-cost solution to industry; we welcome our new shareholding partners.

“Low-cost fuel storage is a critical solution if the world is to fully utilise clean energy to address climate change."

Source: Silicon Republic


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