For a little more than 10 years now we have been hearing the conversation of “flow batteries will beat out lithium ion batteries in the market“. Even today with the news of the merger between redT and Avalon to consolidate efforts under the name Invinity to drive flow batteries into the market it still leaves us a bit skeptical, but hopeful at the same time.
The advantages of flow batteries are clear:
- Can last longer than lithium ion batteries
- “Close enough” energy density – , it is less than lithium ion cells…
- Can handle deep cycling – charge and discharge from 0% – 100%
While the above technical advantages are great and might save a developer or homeowner more money on storage over the long haul – since they don’t have to replace a battery every 10 years the pain point in the market isn’t there. People trust a Tesla Powerwall or an LG RESU10H far more than a new flow battery just because of “longevity”. Most people look at storage for resilience – especially since certain counties are banning natural gas and planning on limiting how long you can run a backup generator…*cough* California.
For flow batteries to really break into the market they need to find a way to address a larger pain point. People aren’t actively avoiding energy storage because of price – it’s more an issue of safety.
If flow batteries can demonstrate how they can make storage safer for people they will have a fighting chance in the market. Until then – it’s good to see companies like Invinity consolidating efforts to keep growing.