July 8, 2021: The Chinese government is looking to increase its long-term energy storage from 3GW to 30GW in the next five years and a large proportion of this, probably exceeding 20GW, will be in VRFBs, according to Mianyan Huang, president of VRB Energy, on July 8.
Speaking in an unofficial capacity at the virtual International Flow Battery Forum, Huang said that the 25MWh LiFePO4 battery that exploded in Beijing in April, killing two firefighters, could mark a step-change in stationary storage options.
The battery was part of a system that also featured 1.4MW of solar capacity on a roof and 94 EV charging points.
The Chinese government has not formally announced a shift in policy.
“But it’s only reasonable to assume that any government will use the resources it has — it has huge reserves of vanadium — for its energy needs,” an attendee at the IFBF said. “Moreover, the country has to import nickel and cobalt for high-powered lithium batteries.”
Huang also said the other technology increasingly favoured by the government as a substitute for lithium was compressed air storage.
Separately, China’s National Energy Administration on June 22 published a draft document calling for a ban on repurposed lithium batteries — ie old EV batteries — being used in large-scale energy storage projects.
The document, the New Energy Storage Project Management Code (Temporary) will be open to consultation until July 22, 2021.