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Maybe safe to physically handle, but explosive if you mix them and put the wrong fluid in the opposite tank. A bit like dynamite. That's physically safe to handle too.

You just can't have two fluids that will release lots of energy when electrically coupled, and for them to be 'safe' in the normal sense.
 

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Using a liquid to refill a battery is what I always hoped would be accomplished - then you have the exact method of filling a tank as ICE cars and the people that are against EV's because 'you have to plug them in every night! And then they deplete and you can't change fast enough! And you get stuck out in the middle of nowhere!" can be swayed over to have an EV - because all you have to do is fill up the tanks with fluid - just like a regular car!
 

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While it will be used for electric energy storage, it may one day find its way to cars. It could be as easy as loading up gasoline by loading the safe fully charged liquid while unloading the discharged liquid for charging at the station. For now, it stores tiny amount of electricity.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151021135628.htm
The energy and power density will probably be too low for EV use. The amount of reactants that can be stored will be limited by their solubility. The electrolytes must be pumped so there are many accessories that support the redox flow battery. For stationary applications where weight and volume are not critical, a low-cost, reliable flow battery has merit.
 

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10Wh/litre..

1600 litres for Gen1 battery. No, we're not yet there for EVs.
I think the 10 Wh/liter is the energy density in the electrolyte. So the value does not account for the pumps, controllers, etc. needed for the complete battery. If everything is included the volumetric energy density will be much lower.
 

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this tech never seems to reach production. I remember reading about similar years ago and wondering where it went.
You are right. The flow battery technology has been around since the 1970's. In fact, I was a co-founder of a start up to develop flow batteries for stationary energy storage. We raised several 10's of millions of dollars, but couldn't get Series C funds this year, so the company closed their doors. Fortunately for me, I was not relying on the company's success for my livelihood or retirement. Securing venture capital funds for a battery start up is difficult because of the high cap ex, compared to social media and internet-based companies. Around here, start ups are part of life's experience that you don't get in many other places.
 

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Around here, start ups are part of life's experience that you don't get in many other places.
On the other hand, my midwestern-based company just bought a west coast startup for 1/70th of what the VC's invested. :)
 

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I remember hearing something similar during the 1970's during the gas crisis era. After 35 years now it should have been on the market years ago. I have seen so many new battery electrical storage ideas in my life. Few if any see the light of day or real world past the lab.

Someone out there somewhere perhaps will find a way to store electricity in an inexpensive way. One must remember that electricity has no weight. Its not like storing 10,000 gallons of fuel. When its uncovered how to store 10,000 kwh of electricity in a shoebox the future of oil is in doubt....
 

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On the other hand, my midwestern-based company just bought a west coast startup for 1/70th of what the VC's invested. :)
Good for your company - what a bargain, if it succeeds. Sometimes failure of a start up is part of the growing experience that many are willing to take. So you pick yourself up and start again. That's what makes this area so dynamic.
 

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Flow batteries are starting to be installed now for power grid load-levelling. They generally arrive built into a shipping container - you leave it in the container.

BYD fast-chargers are shoving > 200kW into their bus batteries - wirelessly! The secret to fast-charging EV's is to have a big enough battery to accept a high charge rate - a Tesla S90 gains miles at a supercharger quite a bit quicker than a S60 does.

There is one company building a supercar with a flow battery, but their specs vs. known flow battery chemistry make it sound like very wishful thinking.

I don't want to have to go somewhere special to charge even if it's fast. Plugging in at home at night is a feature, not a problem.
 

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When its uncovered how to store 10,000 kwh of electricity in a shoebox the future of oil is in doubt....
Heck, we're storing a kWh in a $180 box, and that's already more economical than oil for uncompromised vehicles > $70,000 (provided fast-charging infrastructure is in place).
Next year GM says they'll be at $145 and we'll see how we do against $30k vehicles on merit.
At $100/kWh, we'll be beating oil for vehicles > $20k. GM says they'll be there in 2020. So does Tesla. Getting there is largely improvements in manufacturing process, not the fundamental electrochemistry...

Dropping below that is going to require some advances, but there are many promising pathways being explored - it's now a big-money industry.
 

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Even if it improved, I'd prefer the convenience and speed of plugging in each night.
For us, the improved day to day convenience easily outweighs the 20-30 minute stops when on trips.
The main idea for flow batteries is that you can do both! The pump runs just fine on reverse, so you can fill-up at home and when you are on the move you replace both of the fluids from the pump.

Wouldn't like to be the guy deciding on the price of fluid on the pump, if the old stuff if recirculated back. :)
 

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The main idea for flow batteries is that you can do both! The pump runs just fine on reverse, so you can fill-up at home and when you are on the move you replace both of the fluids from the pump.

Wouldn't like to be the guy deciding on the price of fluid on the pump, if the old stuff if recirculated back. :)
If it were so simple, flow batteries would be further ahead.
 

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If it were so simple, flow batteries would be further ahead.
Idea is simple and works. It's the technical challenge between the idea and reality which is limiting the progress.

Since EVs have in past year or two noted to actually be a viable concept, I would expect that more money will be coming for the battery design thus speeding up the progress. 6 years ago nobody really thought that we would have semi-selfdriving battery cars running on the roads.
 
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