EDF-owned Pivot Power has signed a 10-year rental agreement for the flow storage component of the Oxford Superhub, a major smart cities project delivering a massive hybrid battery, smart electric vehicle charging and connected heat pumps.
Invinity Energy Systems, the firm created by the merger of Avalon and Red T, is supplying the 2MW/5MWh flow storage aspect, which will share a grid connection with a 50MW lithium ion battery to form the hybrid.
Invinity recently struck a financing deal with vanadium producer Bushveld to secure its supply chain, the two outlining their intention in March to provide ‘electrolyte as a service’ via a special purpose vehicle. The intention is to deliver some 15MWh of flow batteries over two years via Vanadium Electrolyte Rental Limited.
They think the rental model will reduce the high capex hurdle, one of the main barriers to scaling flow storage. By signing a 10-year rental agreement, EDF-backed Pivot Power appears to agree, representing “a major step forward for the energy industry,” according to Invinity chief commercial officer, Matt Harper.
Because the electrolyte doesn’t degrade, it means the asset owners also retain value while providing a predictable income stream.
“Flexibility is key to enabling the renewable energy transition; that flexibility cannot be delivered by lithium-ion batteries alone,” said Harper. “Our products take flexibility above and beyond what lithium solutions offer by providing hours of clean energy, dispatched on demand multiple times per day, over decades of service.”
As a result, he claims flow storage is already cheaper than lithium batteries on a whole life cost basis.
Bushveld Minerals CEO, Fortune Mojapelo, said the firm “anticipates adding other rental agreements and vanadium redox flow battery companies to the partnership in growing the electrolyte rental model”.