Imergy Uses Vanadium from Sludge for Flow Batteries

August 5, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

Imergy energy manageImergy Power Systems says it has achieved a milestone in energy storage by developing a process for producing flow batteries with recycled vanadium from mining slag, oil field sludge, fly ash, and other forms of environmental waste.

Imergy says other manufacturers of vanadium flow batteries build their devices with virgin vanadium extracted from mining. It must then be processed to a 99-percent-plus level of purity. Through its R&D program, Imergy has developed a way to produce flow batteries with vanadium at a 98 percent purity level that can be harvested from environmental waste sites.

With this technology Imergy will able to lower the cost of its flow batteries from $500 per kWh to under $300 per kWh.

Imergy is targeting its flow batteries from low-grade vanadium at cell phone operators, solar power plant developers, microgrid owners and other customers who want to manage outages, curb peak power or reduce demand charges.

In May, Imergy said it had 70 systems in India that were using its vanadium electrolyte storage platform.

The waste-stream vanadium is also sustainable for the environment by using an existing product with little or no market value. Thousands of tons of vanadium are brought to the surface each year through worldwide petroleum operations. The mineral then sits in sludge deposits. Tons of vanadium also languish in copper mine tailings.

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