CO2 FOOTPRINT OF VOLTSTORAGE HOME BATTERIES
Up to 37% CO2 emission savings when choosing VoltStorage SMART over lithium-ion battery storage
Munich, 31 October 2019 – Thanks to the particularly ecological Vanadium Redox Flow (VRF) storage technology, VoltStorage storage systems do not require rare and conflict raw materials and are also completely recyclable at low energy levels. VoltStorage battery systems thus represent an environmentally friendly alternative to stationary lithium-based storage systems.
A scientific thesis by the Technical University of Munich has now shown that VoltStorage energy storage systems also have ecological advantages over lithium systems in terms of CO2 footprint. Within the scope of a cradle-to-gate analysis, the CO2 emissions resulting from resource extraction and production of the VoltStorage SMART were compared with those of lithium storage systems of the same capacity. A distinction was made between lithium batteries based on iron phosphate and nickel manganese cobalt (NMC).
Up to 37% CO2 emission savings when choosing VoltStorage SMART
The emission comparison shows: The resource extraction and production of the vanadium-based VoltStorage SMART battery system releases significantly less CO2 emissions than conventional lithium-ion batteries. While 27 percent of CO2 emissions are saved as compared to classic NMC batteries, the figure for lithium iron phosphate batteries is as high as 37 percent. The emission advantages of the VoltStorage storage solution can be traced back to the particularities of vanadium production as well as to the high energy consumption of lithium-ion battery production.
Vanadium reduces CO2 emissions as a by-product
The vanadium-based electrolyte liquid serving as energy carrier makes up a substantial portion of the total mass of the VoltStorage SMART battery storage system. For this reason, the thesis particularly examined the CO2 effects during the production of the vanadium electrolyte. The results show that electrolyte production accounts for 59 percent of the total CO2 emissions of the VoltStorage SMART.
However, the total CO2 emissions from electrolyte production are low, since vanadium is mainly extracted as a by-product from iron production. The energy that would be required for iron production anyways is thus used to fuel most of the energy required for the production of vanadium. This in turn has a positive effect on the CO2 footprint of power storage systems based on Vanadium Redox Flow technology. The particularities of vanadium production are hence a key factor in the significant CO2 savings of the VoltStorage SMART in comparison to lithium systems.
High energy cost in the production of lithium batteries
The results of the Cradle-to-Gate analysis show that the energy consumption required in the production of lithium-based storage systems is a massive emission driver. As such, more than one third of all CO2 emissions from production and resource extraction are attributable to the use of electricity and thermal energy. It was found that there are only minor differences between the two most common lithium battery types (iron phosphate and NMC) in terms of energy demand.
The high energy consumption in the production of lithium batteries stems from an energy-intensive dry-process employed in electrode production. To manufacture the electrodes, the active materials (including lithium) are mixed with other chemical ingredients to form a moist paste. This paste is applied to copper or aluminum foils, which then must be dried at high temperatures in order to be processed further.
Vanadium Redox Flow technology is recommended for stationary applications
The cradle-to-gate analysis demonstrates that Vanadium Redox Flow storage technology has significant ecological advantages over lithium-based storage solutions. Nevertheless, lithium batteries will continue to be important for the future expansion of e-mobility, one of the key pillars for the reduction of global CO2 emissions. Lithium batteries, with their high energy density and low weight, have favorable characteristics to push the electrification of the mobility sector.
In stationary applications, on the other hand, where energy density and weight of storage systems play a secondary role, Vanadium Redox Flow solutions are to be preferred for two reasons: (1) The extraction of resources and the manufacture of stationary storage systems based on VRF significantly saves CO2 emissions. (2) By renouncing lithium in the stationary sector, the raw material supply of lithium can be used exclusively for applications in the mobility sector – and thus reduce the prevalent supply shortage.
More about VoltStorage
VoltStorage develops and produces solar energy storage systems based on the ecological Redox Flow technology. With its sustainable storage solutions, VoltStorage follows the vision of making 100% renewable energies available around 24/7 – and thus making the world cleaner and fairer.
VoltStorage is the first company worldwide to make the Redox Flow Technology, which has been successful in the large storage segment for years, available as a home storage solution for private households. This was made possible by VoltStorage’s production process, for which a patent is pending. For the first time this allows automated and thus cost-effective production of Redox Flow batteries.
With the Redox Flow technology, the company can establish a storage technology in the mass market that is free from rare materials and conflicting raw materials, is completely recyclable and also has a high level of operational reliability and longevity.