South Africa’s Eskom to test Vanadium redox flow battery solution

South African power utility Eskom is set to test a vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) solution developed by Bushveld Energy at its research, testing, and development (RT&D) centre in Rosherville.

Eskom will test the VRFB’s performance and applications under various simulations including minimum load shifting, wind and solar generation smoothing, power quality improvement, and self-black start capabilities.

Commissioning of the VRFB is expected to take place by the first half of next year.

The test is a result of market studies commissioned by Bushveld Energy and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) to evaluate the demand of VRFB in Africa, as well as the potential demand and requirements of vanadium electrolyte worldwide, reported Engineering News.

Earlier this year, Eskom identified that the country’s existing grid would require up to 2,000MW of additional, daily balanced energy storage.

Eskom Group transmission executive Thava Govender said: “Through research and extensive experience in this field, Eskom has recognised that there is a need to incorporate energy storage in significant quantities in the future grid as this could be the solution to our needs for increased flexibility.

“It is important for Eskom to determine the real performance of these batteries prior to widespread installation, especially in view of the current costs and the associated risks of a non-performing technology.”

Eskom, IDC, and Bushveld Energy will provide access to the battery to independent power producers, energy storage developers, and policy decision-makers as part of the test.

Uni Energy Technologies (UET) has also been selected to make a 20ft container advanced VRFB, which will be designed to have 120kW peak power capacity and 450kWh peak energy storage capability.

The testing is expected to complete within 18 months.


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