Fraunhofer Institute puts wind power battery based on redox flow into operation
With carbon battery felts and bipolar plates, SGL Group supplies two essential components for energy storage
Wiesbaden, December 14, 2017. Innovative and high-performance energy storage systems are an important building block for the energy supply of the future. With the delivery of 3,500 square meters of SIGRACELL® battery felts and 1,750 square meters of SIGRACELL® bipolar plates made of specialty graphite, the SGL Group is making a significant contribution to the construction and commissioning of what is currently Germany’s largest battery, a redox flow wind battery in Pfinztal (Baden-Württemberg). As part of the “RedoxWind” research project at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technologies (ICT), the battery should be able to temporarily store energy generated by wind power and feed it into the grid on demand.

The SGL Group’s carbon fiber felts and bipolar plates take on the function of positive and negative flow electrodes. By March 2018, they will have been completely delivered to the customer J. Schmalz GmbH, a specialist in automation who will assemble the so-called redow flow stacks.

The redox flow battery, which takes up an entire building, is supposed to store 20 MWh of electricity upon completion – this amount is enough to supply an average small town in Germany with electricity for ten hours. The project aims to provide evidence that such an energy system makes economic sense and that it can also reliably provide electricity at any time. The state of Baden-Württemberg and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research are funding the project with a total of 19 million euros.

Burkhard Straube, Head of the Graphite Materials & Systems (GMS) Business Unit at SGL Group: “We are proud to be part of this milestone in energy storage in Germany. The order we received shows that we consistently enable and support new technology innovations with our material solutions. Our products and applications will play an increasingly important role in the battery market in the future. ”

The main advantage of a redox flow battery compared to other energy storage systems is that the amount of energy can be scaled as required by the size of the tanks and the battery power by the number of battery stacks and can therefore be adapted very flexibly to the respective requirements. This technology is therefore particularly suitable for the stationary storage of amounts of energy in the MWh range, such as solar or wind power. In addition, compared to other battery systems, redox flow batteries have a significantly longer service life, which is currently estimated at around 20 years.

In addition to components and know-how for redox flow batteries, the SGL Group is active in the energy megatrend as one of the world’s largest and only western manufacturers of synthetic graphite anode material for lithium-ion batteries. This can be found in many rapidly growing markets such as mobile consumer devices and electric vehicles, but also stationary energy storage systems. In addition, the SGL Group plays a key role in the further development of battery technologies and is a member of various networks and research cooperations.