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All-Iron Flow Battery

Case Western Reserve University

High Energy Storage Capacity Low-Cost Iron Flow Battery

Case Western
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$3,247,909
Location: 
Cleveland, OH
Project Term: 
01/01/2013 to 03/30/2018
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 

Our national electric grid has limited ability to store excess energy, so electricity must constantly be over-generated to assure reliable supply. Though wind and solar power are promising clean alternatives to fossil fuels, their natural unpredictability and intermittency make them incapable of delivering the power on-demand necessary to operate today's grid. The U.S. needs technologies that can cost-effectively store renewable energy for future grid use at any location. Flexible, large-scale storage would create a stronger and more robust electric grid by enabling renewables to contribute to reliable power generation.

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

Case Western is developing a water-based, all-iron flow battery for grid-scale energy storage at low cost. Flow batteries store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container. Using iron provides a low-cost, safe solution for energy storage because iron is both abundant and non-toxic. This design could drastically improve the energy storage capacity of stationary batteries at 10-20% of today's cost. Ultimately, this technology could help reduce the cost of stationary energy storage enough to facilitate the adoption and deployment of renewable energy technology.

Potential Impact: 

If successful, Case Western's all-iron flow battery would enable storage from renewable energy sources at a substantially reduced cost and with improved performance compared to today's designs.

Security: 

A more efficient and reliable grid would be more resilient to potential disruptions.

Environment: 

Electricity generation accounts for over 40% of U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Enabling large-scale contributions of wind and solar power for our electricity generation would result in a substantial decrease in CO2 emissions.

Economy: 

Increases in the availability of wind and solar power would reduce fossil fuel demand, resulting in reduced fuel prices and more stable electricity rates.

Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik
Project Contact: 
Dr. Robert Savinell
Release Date: 
11/28/2012