A Feasibility Study in Redox Flow Battery Adoption to Augment Sustainable Electricity Grid Expansion in Developing Countries

Open Access
Narasimharaju, Anukalp
Graduate Program:
Energy and Mineral Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
September 16, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Antonio Nieto, Thesis Advisor
  • Feasibility study
  • flow battery
  • sustainable electricity
  • energy
The quality of Energy Storage affects the efficiency of Energy Consumption. With developing countries struggling with power deficiency, energy storage coupled with renewable sources of energy can act as a short to medium term solution by providing power and kick-starting economic growth from stagnation. It can bring down dependence on thermal and nuclear power in the long run, which are both expensive to develop and run. Battery Energy Storage is also being developed using different materials and technologies serving different purposes. This thesis reviews several different types of batteries along with its advantages and disadvantages. Further, this thesis focuses on the electrochemistry of Redox Flow Batteries, most recent developments, its applications and a case study. The long lifetime of a redox flow battery adds tremendous value in maintaining and building energy capacity for a micro grid or for an expanding community. There are several drivers for energy storage adoption in developing countries. A synopsis of drivers behind flow battery adoption along with the power deficit specific to India is examined. New energy technologies have high costs of development, which are passed on to the consumers. However, unaffordable technologies are not a solution until they become affordable. A breakdown of costs in manufacturing flow batteries are investigated. An evaluation of manufacturing flow batteries both in India and the U.S has been prepared. Further, opportunities for cost reduction are identified. A detailed economic analysis of the cost of adoption and operational costs has been explored while examining the feasibility and adoption of technology for a tourist hotel in the desert region of Udaipur, Rajasthan in India. The results indicate that manufacturing flow batteries in India not only has a higher initial cost than Lead Acid batteries but also has similar pay back periods. The cost of flow batteries must be driven down below $300/kWh to be effectively deployed on a larger scale, while making profits for companies and serving communities with fast and reliable access to energy.