SGL Group supplies solutions for Germany’s largest battery

Electrolyte Tanks of the Redox-Flow-Battery

Electrolyte tanks of Germany's biggest redox-flow battery at the Fraunhofer Institute in Pfinztal (near Karlsruhe)

  • Fraunhofer Institute commissions wind-energy battery based on redox flow
  • SGL Group supplies two major components for the energy store with carbon battery felts and bipolar plates

Innovative and powerful energy stores are a crucial component in the energy supply of tomorrow. With its delivery of 3,500 m2 SIGRACELL® battery felts and 1,750 m2 SIGRACELL® bipolar plates made of specialty graphite, SGL Group has made a major contribution to the setup and commissioning of the currently largest battery in Germany, a redox flow wind battery in Pfinztal, Baden-Württemberg. As part of the “RedoxWind” research project at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technologies (ICT), the battery will store energy generated by wind power and feed it to the network on demand.

The carbon fiber felts and bipolar plates supplied by SGL Group assume the function of positive and negative electrodes. By March 2018, the last parts will be delivered to customer J. Schmalz GmbH, an automation specialist responsible for assembling the so-called redox flow stack.

Upon completion, the redox flow battery that occupies a whole building should be able to store 20 MWh of electricity – enough to supply an average town in Germany with power for ten hours. The project aims to prove that this type of energy system both makes economic sense and can also reliably provide power at all times. The State of Baden-Württemberg and the Federal Ministry of Education and research support the project with a total of 19 million euros.

Burkhard Straube, Head of Graphite Materials & Systems (GMS) at SGL Group, says, “We are proud to be part of this milestone in energy storage in Germany. This order shows that we consistently enable and support new technological innovations with our material solutions. In the future, our products and applications will play an ever-greater role on the battery market.”

The major advantage of a flow battery over other energy store options is that the amount of energy and the performance of the battery can be scaled independently by changing the size of the tanks or changing the number of stacks. This makes the technology ideal for stationary storage of energy in the MWh range. In addition, redox flow batteries feature a much longer service life compared to other battery systems – currently measured at around 20 years.

Beside components and expertise in redox flow batteries, when it comes to the megatrend of energy, SGL Group is also active as one of the world’s largest and only major manufacturer of synthetic graphite anode material for lithium-ion batteries, which are used in many growing markets, such as mobile end user devices and electric vehicles, but in stationary energy store systems as well. Furthermore, SGL group strongly supports the advancement of battery technologies and is a member of various networks and research co-operations.

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