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Recycling electrolyte from vanadium RFBs

| By Gerald Ondrey

U.S. Vanadium LLC (Hot Springs, Ark.; has successfully demonstrated the ability to recycle the liquid electrolyte used in vanadium redox-flow batteries (VRFB), a rapidly growing commercial technology that promises to enable intermittent renewable energy technologies, such as solar and wind, to provide power on a continuous basis (see Redox Flow Batteries Charge Forward, Chem. Eng. September 2016, pp. 14–20).

Against a background of increasingly prevalent waste-disposal issues faced by lithium-ion batteries, VRFBs have the important benefit of its liquid electrolyte being nearly 100% recyclable. Vanadium electrolyte, and its ability to be recycled for continuing use, is considered to be a key advantage for the technology that is expected to lead to increased worldwide adoption of VRFBs as an alternative to Li-ion batteries.

U.S. Vanadium recently demonstrated the technical and economic feasibility of recycling VRFB electrolyte provided by Invinity Energy Systems plc (Vancouver, B.C., Canada;). The VRFB electrolyte recycling initiative at U.S. Vanadium, where a vanadium recovery rate of 97% was achieved, was led by Mike Woolery, vanadium technologist for U.S. Vanadium. A description of the recycling process and other recycling options can be found at the company’s website in a March 8th blog post.