Using residential-scale flow batteries to ease solar's impact on the grid

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Video screen capture Fully Charged

Elon Musk recently offered to solve Australia's grid instability by installing 100MW of lithium-ion batteries in 100 days—offering to do it for free if he didn't meet that timeframe.

He's not the only one pushing battery solutions to help smooth out the impact of Australia's massive solar boom on the energy grid. Simon Hackett, CEO of Redflow batteries, is pushing grid-scale and (crucially) home-scale flow batteries that use a zinc bromide solution instead of Musk's lithium-ion Powerwall.

I'm not exactly a technical wizard when it comes to battery storage technology (or anything else for that matter), so I'll point you to other TreeHugger articles about why there's been a buzz about the potential for cheaper flow batteries in the renewable energy world. For Hackett's part, he makes the case that his flow battery solutions are not flammable like lithium-ion and they don't lose capacity with age. In fact, he says, they already offer better value for money over their complete lifecycle—although they cost more upfront.

Hackett's company is currently building hundreds of batteries a month, but he fully expects to see the price come down as capacity scales up. Robert Llewellyn recently took a tour of Hackett's solar-and-battery powered home and offices during a trip to Australia. Take a look, there's plenty of geeky detail in there fore the more technically minded.

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Using residential-scale flow batteries to ease solar's impact on the grid
Redflow's flow batteries were originally conceived of for large-scale deployment. But they are now powering individual homes.

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