Systematic Characterization and Evaluation of Grid-connected Flow Battery Systems

B. Taube, R. Johnson, P. Leufkens, A. McQuilling, B. Hamzavy
Southern Research,
United States

Keywords: vanadium redox flow battery, energy storage testing, grid-connected, evaluation, stacked services


Energy storage deployments in the United States have continually increased over the past several years, and according to leading industry organizations, are projected to grow exponentially in the future. As deployments become more widespread, and a wider range of technologies are employed, understanding and evaluating system performance and capabilities will be essential to support continued energy storage growth, especially as systems are integrated into mission-critical portions of our energy infrastructure. Flow batteries are an emerging technology in this space and are well-suited to a number of grid support applications and characteristically have long cycle life and projected operational lifetime. Southern Research, in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Labs, the Electric Power Research Institute and Southern Company Services have established the Energy Storage Research Center (ESRC) in Birmingham, Alabama to address this need for testing and research. The facility has been designed to test the function and performance of grid-connected energy storage systems, with a focus on flow battery technologies. The front-of-the meter research and test infrastructure at ESRC evolves as a flow battery research and test center of excellence as the industry continues to develop. In order to systematically characterize the functionality and performance of grid-scale flow battery energy storage systems, a facility-specific test manual has been developed in alignment with test guidelines set out by the energy storage industry through the Energy Storage Integration Council (ESIC). Research and testing at the facility includes areas such as the electric characterization of a variety of flow chemistries. The ESRC software-hardware infrastructure provides unique opportunities to characterize flow battery system performance to research and test a variety of use case applications individually and in stacked configurations. This supports the economic justification of flow battery deployments as stacking of value streams for energy storage systems is critical. This paper and presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of flow technologies and how the ESRC’s flow research and test center of excellence supports the evaluation and validation of various grid-scale flow battery technologies.