In an energetic example of Stony Brook University’s science-commercialization system firing on all cylinders, university researchers are getting into the vanadium flow – testing a prototype battery with unprecedented energy-storage capabilities.
A vanadium flow battery developed by Stony Brook-based clean-gen company StorEn Technologies is being put through its paces by Unique Technical Services, a 2012 launch spun out of SBU’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center. Wielding an array of engineering tools and techniques, UTC is conducting simulations, field tests and other analyses to determine if StorEn’s next-gen battery is the next-wave commercial and residential energy source its creators predict.
The battery testing – including reviewing the “process for validating its applications” – will continue through March under the watchful eye of the AERTC. It has developed “under the guidance” of several Albany-sanctioned partners and programs, according to SBU, including the Rochester Institute of Technology’s New York State Pollution Prevention Institute and three distinct SBU programs: the AERTC (a state-funded Center of Excellence), the Clean Energy Business Incubation Program and the Center for Integrated Electric Energy Systems.
Rechargeable vanadium-flow batteries, which use vanadium ions in different oxidation states to store chemical potential energy, have been proven out: The batteries already exist throughout major industry, used primarily as backup power sources.
But those batteries are big – too big for residential or light-industrial uses. Leveraging cutting-edge nanotechnologies, StorEn’s primary focus is on smaller, condensed prototypes suitable for smaller-load markets, including light commercial and residential applications.
Upon completion of the current testing round, the RIT’s pollution-prevention institute is expected to issue a comprehensive technical and environmental-impact report, and anticipating a glowing assessment, StorEn is already looking forward to its next steps, including a likely fundraising round.