Japan could start building the world's largest storage battery system, as well as begin experiments to control fluctuations from renewable energy sources, as early as this autumn.
For the project, Hokkaido Electric will build what is called a redox flow battery system, produced by Sumitomo, at a substation in the town of Abira, 500 miles of Tokyo. The system – a 60 MWh vanadium redox flow battery – will be as high as a six-story building.
A redox flow battery repeats charging and discharging operations in a tank, using an electrolytic solution of a metal known as vanadium. The system will have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which has allocated 20bn yen ($202m) to cover the full cost of developing and manufacturing the system, believes the introduction of redox flow batteries will enable utilities to buy 10% more electricity from renewable energy sources.