Much interest was engendered by the smart grid stimulus money. According to the ESA, there were over 40 presentations from 10 panels.
Although we did not attend, we had our sources. We learned that the VRB-ESS is still well perceived.
"In general, people seem keen on the VRB technology and happy that Prudent has chosen to pick up where VRB left off in developing the technology. While the competitive environment is getting more well-populated, flow batteries in general and the VRB technology in particular are still noted in many of the presentations. Consensus seems to be that they definitely have a part to play in the energy storage industry.
NGK's molten sodium sulfur NAS battery is well accepted in Japan. According to one pr
esentation, they have over 270 MW located at 190 sites in Japan. In fact, they are "sold out" through 2010. (Which means, apparently, that it will not be possible to install a large energy storage facility with the NAS battery under the smart grid stimulus grants?)
My comment - I wonder how a large installation of NAS would be accepted in the USA? I personally think the Japanese are much less sensitive to such things. I saw a peaker plant go down in flames from neighborhood activism in S. Orange County, California. This natural gas plant was nowhere near any houses, out of sight, and no one would ever know when it was running. However, a few activists were able to shut down the "smokestack power plant". I have to believe there would be some real reaction to a molten sodium/sulfur plant of any size near a neighborhood, even though NGK has engineered substantial safeguards into the system.
One interesting note is that there was a complete failure of the NGK system in New York this past year, requiring that the entire storage system be replaced. Apparently the NaS system cannot be completely discharged without suffering irreparable damage" I didn't find any news on the internet about the failure - anyone have a reference?
I also received this report on the NGK system in New York: "
Lithium batteries of various types received substantial attention - and why not, they're getting all the money! But they aren't ready et for long term storage - most applications are for quick response, short term storage - like flywheels.
The VRB-ESS still looks good for large, grid connected storage.