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VRB Energy’s plans include China gigafactory, R&D and 500MWh storage system

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 10:24 -- Paul Crompton

Vanadium redox flow battery firm VRB Energy has announced a framework agreement that sets out plans for a gigafactory, R&D institute and energy storage system deployment in China. 

The plans include the deployment of a 100MW/500MWh vanadium flow battery integrated power station project in Xiangyang, Hubei Province; the construction of the first 50MW capacity of a 1GW VRB-ESS gigafactory manufacturing facility, and a vanadium flow battery intelligent energy research and development (R&D) institute.

VRB Energy chairman Robert Friedland and chief executive officer Dr. Mianyan Huang signed the framework agreement on behalf of the company— formerly known as Pu Neng, and majority owned by US mining firm High Power Exploration. 

The agreement was also signed by the Xiangyang Municipal Government, Hubei Pingfan New Energy, the Xiangyang state-owned Capital Investment and Operation Group at a ceremony on 4 March. 

The initial 40MW/200MWh deployment of the ESS and construction of the 50MW of manufacturing capacity will start by May.

The project builds upon the success of a 3MW PV plus 3MW/12MWh VRB project in Xiangyang executed with Pingfan New Energy in 2019.

Friedland said: “China wants to install over 1,000 gigawatts of new solar PV and wind power by 2030 and they are not alone in the commitment to decarbonisation and the ‘greening’ of their power grids; with both the US and the European Union prioritising renewable power solutions. 

“Energy storage remains a key challenge in the mass adoption of renewable energy, and we’re extremely proud to be leading the way.”

VRB Energy’s 100MW project in Hubei is among a growing number of 100MW flow battery projects being prioritised in China, as part of its national energy storage policy and accelerated infrastructure investment. 

Construction of the world’s biggest vanadium flow battery began on the Dalian peninsula in northern China in 2016 by UniEnergy Technologies (UET)'s and Rongke Power

The 800MWh project was scheduled to be completed last year.

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