Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

, Volume 41, Issue 10, pp 1167–1174 | Cite as

Simulation and optimization of a flow battery in an area regulation application

  • James A. Mellentine
  • Walter J. Culver
  • Robert F. Savinell
Original Paper


Flow batteries have the potential to provide ancillary grid services such as area regulation. In this paper, a hypothetical 2 MW flow battery is simulated in an area regulation application to find the optimal energy-to-power ratio that maximizes the net present value (NPV) of a 10 year project based on a range of installation costs. Financial and operational results are presented, and candidate battery chemistries are discussed. A simplified model of battery installation costs (dollars per kW h) resulted in a positive NPV for installation costs below $500 kW−1 h−1. For installation costs between $300 and $500 kW−1 h−1, an optimal energy-to-power ratio is 1.39. The traditional advantage of decoupling power and energy capacity may not be realized in area regulation; therefore hybrid flow batteries may be more appropriate. Zinc-bromine and iron-chromium chemistries might fit well with this application, along with lower-cost flow battery chemistries in the future.


Energy storage Redox flow batteries Area regulation Redox flow cells Flow batteries 



This work represents a portion of the MSc thesis project of JAM, who was a student at the School for Renewable Energy Science, Iceland. The authors are grateful to DOE grant # DE-EE0000275 which supported the experimental aspects of JAM’s MSc thesis research. Support of RFS from the Department of Chemical Engineering, the Great Lakes Energy Institute, and Case Western Reserve University are gratefully acknowledged.


  1. 1.
    Eyer J, Corey G (2010) Energy storage for the electricity grid: benefits and market potential assessment guide. Sandia National Laboratories. Report # SAND2010-0815Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    EIA (2011) State energy profiles—California. US Energy Information Administration. Available via Accessed 18 Jan 2011
  3. 3.
    VRB Power Systems (2005) 2-MW h flow battery application by PacifiCorp in Utah. Available via Accessed 18 Jan 2011
  4. 4.
    CAISO (2009) Ancillary Service Information. California ISO. Available via Accessed 16 Jan 2011
  5. 5.
    Palisade (2010) @Risk risk analysis software, v5.7. Available via Accessed 16 Jan 2011
  6. 6.
    Nguyen T, Savinell RF (2010) Flow batteries. Electrochem Soc Interface 19:54–56Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Electropaedia (2005) Lead acid batteries. Available via Accessed 16 May 2011
  8. 8.
    Joerissen L, Garche J, Fabjan C et al (2004) J Power Sour 127:98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    DoE (2009). Smart grid regional demonstrations. Department of Energy. Available via Accessed 3 Mar 2011
  10. 10.
    Ton D, Hanley C, Peek G et al. (2008) Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems—Energy Storage (SEGIS-ES). Sandia National Laboratories. Report # SAND2008-4247Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    ZBB Energy (2011) Presentations. ZBB Energy. Available via Accessed 3 Mar 2011
  12. 12.
    NASA (2008) Battery technology stores clean energy. Available via Accessed 3 Mar 2011
  13. 13.
    Hruska LW, Savinell RF (1981) J Electrochem Soc 128:18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Srinivasan V, Weber A, Battaglia V (2010) Hydrogen-bromine flow battery for grid-scale energy storage. University of California Berkeley. Available via Accessed 3 Mar 2011

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. Mellentine
    • 1
  • Walter J. Culver
    • 2
  • Robert F. Savinell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Great Lakes Energy InstituteCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

Personalised recommendations