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Increasing the base load with smart batteries

Solar and wind parks are disadvantaged because of their insufficient base load capacity. This shortcoming can be remedied using smart batteries. And that is where VoltStorage GmbH’s iron-salt technology has found an extremely promising niche.

November 22, 2022

Key takeaways

  • When it comes to energy storage, the greatest challenge is finding batteries with a discharging duration of between ten and 100 hours. 
  • Long-duration batteries are designed to ensure power supply even during periods of low wind and low sun.
  • The iron-salt technology is fully lithium free and offers measurable cost advantages. 
  • The market for long-duration energy storage has a great deal of growth potential. Investments are expected to reach USD 3 trillion by 2040.
  • Demand for solutions to complex environmental problems are creating new markets and expanding existing markets, while at the same time offering active managers a wide variety of opportunities. 
"The problem is that solar and wind are not available 24 hours a day" Michael Peither, CTO and co-founder of VoltStorage GmbH

Renewable energy requires efficient energy storage systems

There's no question about what the world needs: energy from renewables that is available everywhere. Solar and wind are ideal renewable energy sources. "The problem is that solar and wind are not available 24 hours a day," says Michael Peither, discussing the world of energy storage. There are solutions for this, but none that meet every need. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work here. The CTO and co-founder of VoltStorage GmbH categorizes the various challenges and solutions based on the charging and discharging duration of the battery. Proven storage solutions like super caps (super capacitors), flywheel energy storage, and lithium-ion batteries are available for situations that require a duration of a few hours. For energy storage of more than 100 hours, the conversion of electrical power into gas or liquid fuel (power-to-gas, power-to-liquid) is another practical technology that is currently available. 

The solution: New lithium-free batteries with greater charging and discharging durations

When it comes to energy storage, the greatest challenge is finding batteries with a discharging duration of between ten and 100 hours. From a purely technical perspective, lithium-ion batteries – the kind that are found in every smartphone – can provide this level of storage. However, this solution is impractical. Lithium is in short supply and the costs are far too high. Until now, the only option has been pumped-storage plants, which only work in mountainous regions. 

"The anticipated growth on the global markets for energy storage is clearly exponential – exactly what every investor wants to see." Michael Peither, CTO and co-founder of VoltStorage GmbH, Thematic Flagship ETH Conference 2022,

Long-duration batteries as an energy storage solution

Long-duration batteries are energy storage systems and storage technologies that take more than ten hours to charge or discharge. With regard to storing renewable energy generated from solar and wind parks, the focus is less on shortening charging cycles, and more on achieving a longer discharging duration. This will make it possible to close the supply gap during periods of low wind and low sun, and secure the base load supply. And it's where VoltStorage and their long-duration batteries come into play.

Power from renewables available 24/7 with long-duration energy storage

The long-duration battery is based on revolutionary iron-salt technology, which works in accordance with the proven redox flow method. Iron-salt technology offers significant benefits for long-duration storage compared to conventional storage technologies: It can make power from renewable energies available 24 hours a day. The raw materials required to produce long-duration batteries are not only environmentally friendly, but also inexpensive and available around the globe. This allows solar and wind park operators to generate significant cost advantages, while providing a storage solution that is also exceptionally robust and versatile.

Long-duration energy storage is undergoing enormous growth

The market for long-duration energy storage demonstrates a great deal of growth potential. The installed storage capacity is expected to exceed two terawatts between 2035 and 2040. In terms of installed energy capacity, significantly more than 100 terawatt hours are anticipated by 2040. That corresponds to a cumulative battery storage capacity of two billion electric cars. Investments are expected to reach USD 3 trillion by 2040. 

Sources: Net-zero power: Long-duration energy storage for a renewable grid, LDES Council, McKinsey & Company, November 2021. Available at https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/sustainability/our-insights/net-zero-power-long-duration-energy-storage-for-a-renewable-grid

VoltStorage relies on iron-salt flow batteries – with no lithium

VoltStorage GmbH was founded in 2016 by Jakob Bitner, Michael Peither, and Felix Kiefl. Their mission is simple: make renewable energy available 24/7 for a green, sustainable, and fair future.

In just a few years, VoltStorage has become the technology leader for stationary flow batteries. For its next-generation lithium-free battery, the company uses iron-salt technology. Thanks to the unparalleled low cost and widespread availability of the iron-based storage medium, this technology boasts enormous potential. VoltStorage is headquartered in Munich and has around 60 employees.

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