Developments in alternative propulsion for boating are in full swing. Companies are either collaborating on developing new propulsion systems, such as Cummins and Danfoss. Moreover, companies are developing in-house solutions in terms of alternative propulsion. It is not only a matter of consumer preference, but environmental responsibility too. New technologies are emerging, while scientists are testing their benefits and drawbacks, alongside the possibility of commercialization. In today's text we will introduce a relatively new technology, making its way through the battery industry.
Vanadium redox flow battery
The vanadium redox flow type of battery is using vanadium ions as carriers. The vanadium redox-flow battery is an energy storage device for power grid applications. The main benefit of the system is vanadium’s capacity to exist in four oxidation, +2, +3, +4 and +5. Consequently, this allows the battery to contain only one electroactive component instead of two (Sánchez-Díez et al., 2021).
The main benefits of the systems using these types of batteries include their high reversibility, relatively large power output (Kumi, 2023) and a near limitless lifetime. Vanadium redox flow batteries have a deep Depth of Discharge (DoD) compared to other types of energy storage systems, such as lithium batteries, without detrimental impacts on subsequent cycles (Alotto et al., 2014; Kear et al., 2012). Despite advantages which surpass the characteristics of existing battery systems, current implementations are less powerful and the systems are too expensive at the time being (Abdin and Khalilpour, 2019). Moreover, the prices of vanadium are volatile. A proposition to advance the existing systems include the use of organic active materials in solid-state batteries.
Applications in marine
The batteries are, anyhow, included in developing solutions for the boating industry. Singaporean construction conglomerate Gennal Engineering PTE LTD is commercializing a vanadium redox flow battery design for maritime applications, as reported by The Maritime Executive. More industry players announced to follow the same steps. Yoo and colleagues (2021) published a paper proposing a hybrid system using vanadium redox flow batteries.
Scientific papers started introducing the aforementioned systems already ten years ago. However, commercial use and applications in maritime have been presented in the last 3 years. It is a promising technology due to many advantages and we are curious to see in what ways it will further develop.