German energy storage firm CMBlu and manufacturing group MANN+HUMMEL have partnered up to develop sustainable battery storage solutions.
Organic flow batteries, redox flow batteries powered by electrolytes derived from lignin – the complex organic polymers accrued as a waste product of paper and pulp manufacture – have been in development at CMBlu since 2014; and the company has now produced a working prototype. Under the partnership agreement, MANN+HUMMEL is set to build a full production line as a precursor to bringing organic flow batteries to market; while CMBlu continues to develop its lignin-based sustainable battery storage with the aim of manufacturing systems at a commercial level by 2021.
Charles Vaillant, Chief Technology Officer at MANN+HUMMEL, said: “In line with our strategic initiatives to promote clean air and clean mobility, we were very interested in the technology of CMBlu right from the start. We believe that the expertise, product range and experience of MANN+HUMMEL offer considerable advantages for the production of battery stacks in order to quickly achieve the required performance level and make the technology cost-effective. The manufacture of electrolytes includes a number of filtration steps, which MANN+HUMMEL performs using new special membranes. This technology further expands our product range and at the same time contributes to build the infrastructure needed for electric vehicles. This also enables us to make a significant contribution towards a sustainable energy transition globally.”
The organic flow batteries developed by CMBlu store electricity in aqueous solutions derived from lignin, with the capability to adjust battery capacity and electrical output by altering the size of the storage tanks – within the confines of the battery’s energy capacity level, which is dependent on the storage size, the energy produced and stored by the battery can be subject to flexible customisation; for example, by storing solar energy through the day for use later at night.
CMBlu CEO Peter Geigle said: “Our concept is based on the mode of energy in the human body. In the citric acid cycle the body also uses a redox reaction of organic molecules. We have now succeeded in applying this principle to large-scale storage of electrical energy. For this purpose we use the mostly unused resource of lignin, which is readily available in unlimited quantities and accrues in amounts of millions of tons annually in the pulp and paper industry. Our technology enables a very large and cost effective energy storage system. The battery stack is the core of the system and requires the highest quality and process reliability in the production process. MANN+HUMMEL is a perfect partner in the industrialisation process.”