Water-based batteries could be the answer to our energy problems

The UK has an issue with wind. We have wind too often, which causes our turbines to spin ineffectively, wasting their energy.

The solution would be to store the energy in batteries, and then release it as needed. The lithium batteries used in electric vehicles have not proven to be very durable or easy to scale. Invinity is a company that’s listed on London Stock Exchange Aim Market.

Invinity produces batteries with a vanadium-flow technology. The company instead of using lithium uses vanadium and can provide power to the grid up to 12 hour compared to about 4 hours with lithium batteries.

Its model is attracting attention. Invinity raised £56 million last week, arranged by investment broker VSA. This included £25 millions of taxpayers money via the UK Infrastructure Bank. This was a remarkable feat considering the lack of interest in smaller company fundraising. The funds will allow the company to scale up and eventually generate cash through its own products by 2025.

The Infrastructure Bank conducted a six-month due diligence process on us. Jonathan Marren is Invinity’s chief financial officer. He said that the Infrastructure Bank had done six months of due diligence on us.

Brazil, China and South Africa are the main mining countries for vanadium ore

Invinity’s capital raise was thought to be the largest London has seen this year. It was also oversubscribed. Marren said, “This is the first time we’ve had big institutions back us.” “That proves to me that there is capital available.” You’ve got the story wrong, I think. “We hope to get the market moving again.”

The timing of Invinity looks good. The G7 announced last week that they would aim to double the battery storage in grids by 2030. This move is being made as governments try to reduce their dependence on minerals from China, such as lithium.

Vanadium flow batteries can produce 220Kwh of energy, which is enough to power up to 30 homes per day. Invinity claims its product has a lifespan of 25 years, which is far superior to that of lithium batteries. The flow batteries are available in shipping container-sized units that can be stacked together to produce more power. They are not flammable because they’re water-based.

Larry Zulch is the CEO of Invinity. He said that lithium batteries are useful, but they don’t have the longevity needed to fill the gap in renewable energy.

Invinity’s vanadium-flow battery can produce 220Kwh. This is enough to power up to 30 homes for one day.

Vanadium can be mined in Brazil and China. It is also recycled from iron ore. It is mined in South Africa by the FTSE 100 giant Glencore. It is typically used to reinforce steel but can also be stored electricity. The vanadium salts, dissolved in a water electrolyte, “flow” through a cell stack made of plastic frames with electrodes. The vanadium atoms are able to exchange electrons back and forth, which allows electricity to be stored.

Zulch explained that vanadium flow batteries were a concept that was relatively well understood, but it took time for them to gain traction, as the research focused on lithium-ion batteries. Invinity already has Scottish Water and EDF as customers. Siemens Gamesa, the world’s largest wind farm company, was signed on as a partner three years ago to develop the next generation batteries. Schroders, its largest investor, is the company.

Invinity will manufacture batteries in Bathgate, Scotland, and Vancouver, Canada, in the medium-term. Invinity hopes to then license its technology in other markets where batteries will be manufactured by third-party manufactures.