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In the current days, the shift towards renewables from fossil fuels is gaining more and more traction. Solar and wind energy is of particular interest since they do not require very specific geographic and landscape conditions, unlike hydro or geothermal energy. However, the key issue with the former two is the high intermittency. The day and night cycles in addition to the weather patterns mean that at some periods the demand is not going to be met and at others, the grid will be overloaded. Therefore, some type of seasonal and short-term grid balancing is needed.
The most effective way of balancing the supply and demand of energy is, of course, batteries. Currently, the most popular type of battery is lithium-ion; however, they are not suitable for large-scale applications due to their high price. Redox-flow batteries, on the other hand, can be easily scaled up and are fairly unexplored, especially the chemistry behind them. Using iron as the main component of the electrolyte, redox-flow batteries can become significantly cheaper per kWh than lithium-ion batteries and safer at the same time. Consequently, redox-flow batteries could become the bridge to the fully renewable future.
The greatest success stories lie behind collaboration and team effort. Whether it would be between private ventures or universities, having more people working together leads to different observations and discoveries. As carbon-neutrality needs to be reached as soon as possible, developing a new battery in partnership with other universities and doing everything open source is the way for the fastest progress. Therefore, the goal is to create a universal battery base setup and enable researchers and students worldwide to work side by side on improving it while sharing their findings.