Uni Energy Technologies is supplying a 100kW/500kWh vanadium redox flow battery to be installed on Hawaii in a project to assess the technology’s ability to support the grid.


Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority (NELHA) is installing a vanadium redox flow battery.

More than 56% of the electricity generated on Hawaii island comes from renewable resources, including solar PV, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal.

In recent years Hawaii and the other islands in the archipelago have been installing batteries, which mainly use lithium ion chemistry, to integrate renewable sources within the islands’ electricity grids.

The partners on the flow battery project include the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i Authority (NELHA), Hawaii Electric Light Company, and the Ulupono Initiative as well as Uni Energy Technologies. The battery will be installed at the Hawai‘i Ocean Science and Technology park, which is administered by NELHA.

The vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) should be operational in 2018. The energy storage system was developed by the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Vanadium flow batteries have a longer life cycle than standard lead acid or lithium ion batteries and with regular maintenance can last more than 20 years and operate in very warm weather without degrading as significantly as other battery chemistries.

“Long duration flow batteries are particularly suitable for island systems to serve as a buffer between the load, variable renewable generation, and expensive fossil fuel generation, allowing for more effective asset utilization”, said Dr Imre Gyuk, director of the Department of Energy’s energy storage programme.

The VRFB energy storage system will help stabilize the grid through frequency, voltage and reactive power control as well as improve the dispatch capability of distributed renewable energy.

The installation is funded in part by Ulupono Initiative, the Department of Energy Office of Electricity, and Hawaii Electric Light.