September 26, 2019: Technology firm VanadiumCorp is to open a company in Germany that will focus on making vanadium redox flow batteries, new chief technology officer Gilles Champagne told BESB on September 25.
Further details of the facility, which will be in Karlsruhe, near Frankfurt, have not yet been released.
Champagne was appointed CTO by the Canada-based firm on September 18, having joined the firm in February 2017 as an advisory board member.
Before that, he was vice president of engineering and development with Imergy Power Systems, a Silicon Valley start-up that develops and manufactures vanadium redox flow battery systems for stationary applications.
VanadiumCorp said he would lead the development of new vanadium energy technologies “to reach our commercial objectives”.
Champagne said the firm and its partners were collaborating on technology that would be coming to the world stage within two years, rather than the five he said a lot of vanadium companies were talking about.
“We don’t want a three to five-year development time. We are looking at collaborating with partners to come with us to shorten that time to market,” he said.
“We are devoted to producing batteries for stationary applications but working very hard with partners for mobile applications too, which is totally new. Heavy vehicles, trains, boats — all these applications.
“But with stationary applications, the larger the better — we have found a way to increase the energy density of the electrolyte as well as the power density of the stack.”
VanadiumCorp — which owns mining grounds in Quebec, Canada but does yet not extract vanadium — would supply the element so that the batteries would be standardized, he said.
Champagne said the company would not target microgrids or small commercial markets, but entire grids and off-grid applications.
“The global need for a sustainable energy storage solution has never been greater,” he said. “The vanadium redox flow battery has the potential to revolutionize global power grids with clean energy.”
He said lead batteries had to be retrieved every five years and the number of cycles was limited. There were also still problems with sulfation and deep discharge, he said.
“Our batteries can last for 25 years. You might need to change the stack after 10 years, but the electrolyte is 60% of the battery and will last for 25 years,” he said.