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Another successful IFBF!


This year’s International Flow Battery Forum (IFBF) wrapped up on 27 June with a focus on costs, standardisation and supply chains. Talks started on the fringe of the event that, if successful, could narrow the range of felt membranes and cut costs by 30–50%.


Patrick Clerens, director of the Clerens consultancy in Brussels, Belgium, and director of the IFBF, told BEST he started conducting discussions with industry players at the Glasgow, Scotland, meeting on standardisation that will move ahead to formal talks.


Several speakers raised the subject of needing to cut costs as a means to achieving greater sales volume. Clerens said there was a “chicken and egg situation” of buyers asking suppliers for discounts, and suppliers asking for order volume to justify this.


Standardisation would help achieve lower costs, he said. That could cover electrolyte and felt membranes, he added.


“I’ve seen the felt, and it’s the most expensive element of the stacks,” he said. There are 10–12 different felts. Stack suppliers do not regard the felts as a unique selling point in their stacks, he said, adding they are just another component.


“I asked if we were to standardise to one or two felts, would that cut the prices. And they think it could mean a 30–50% cost reduction. There was a range of them saying that.”


He said talks to take this forward could happen in the Flow Batteries Europe industry body. “If everyone comes together to do this, it would be a huge step forward. No-one was doing this two years ago.”


He will be contacting companies in the industry after the summer to determine their interests and expectations ahead of a formal meeting.


IFBF Secretary Anthony Price told BEST 330 people had registered for the three-day conference – 30 joining on line. He highlighted a range of business opportunities emerging from the conference, from mining in Australia to imports of new technologies to Singapore. “It’s mind-blowing,” he said. “If anyone thinks flow batteries have no role, they’re not looking in the right place.”


Austrian company Cellcube will host the IFBF next year in Vienna.


Written by: Andrew Draper - BEST Magazine 27 June 2024

Image: MIXING OF POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE VANADIUM ELECTROLYTE AFTER EXPERIMENT
By Nadezda Vranova - Pinflow Energy Storage
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