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EMBROIDER POWER

Embroidered electrodes for high-performance redox flow batteries

Sectors covered
Technology innovation in textile & clothing
Innovation priority
Advanced digitised manufacturing, value chains and business models
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Introduction

The energy transformation of the EU towards full decarbonisation by 2050 requires larger growth in renewable energy sources (RES). Due to the need for energy storage systems to accommodate RES supply, the market for battery energy storage systems is also expected to grow. Of all the commercially available technologies, redox flow batteries (RFB) are gaining increasing popularity because they pose no risk of explosion or thermal runaway reactions and because of their expected durability (ca. 20 years). This is comparable to the life expectancy of photovoltaic panels. However, an enhancement in their performance, for instance in power generation, can make them more cost-effective.

The partnership, comprised of TEXIBLE GmbH (TEXIBLE), the Key Enabling Technologies Centre (KET), the Research Institute of Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics of the University of Innsbruck (UIBK), detected a market opportunity to develop high-value textile products that will improve the performance of RFBs. Through this project, the partnership aims to create a stack prototype that will demonstrate the capability of embroidery to create high-performance electrodes for RFBs. Conventional electrodes used in commercial RFB systems consist of carbon felts or carbon papers that cannot be freely designed. Their structure, composed of randomly oriented carbon fibres, hinder the operation of RFBs in terms of attainable power, levels of charge and discharge, and the overall lifetime of the battery stack.

Embroidery is a textile manufacturing technique that allows the placement of continuous filaments (e.g. carbon rovings) in precise patterns that can be customised. With this technology, the partnership aims to produce large electrodes with fibre arrangements geared to achieve greater mass-transfer rates and more uniform current distributions, and therefore, greater battery performance compared to conventional systems. The cooperation between TEXIBLE, with expertise in embroidery technology for technical textiles and the KET Centre UIBK, with expertise in textile electrochemical processes and embroidered electrodes in batteries, is necessary to ensure the success of the project.

Objectives

  • To create a stack prototype of a Redox Flow Battery, demonstrating the capability of embroidery to create high-performance electrodes.

  • The technical goal is to create a high-performance stack with larger electrode dimensions than conventional systems to achieve 50% greater performance.

Outcome of ELIIT project support

Impact (to date): The ELIIT project is helping us in the prototype uptake to the market, which will enable the partners to enlarge our product portfolio with a longer-term vision.

Partners

SME: Texible GmbH

Country: Austria
Year of creation: 2016
Background: TEXIBLE, a spin-off from the University of Innsbruck, is an expert on technology transfer from research results to the production and marketing of technical textile products..
More information: company website, Facebook

Technical provider: Research Institute of Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics of the University of Innsbruck

Country: Austria
Year of creation: 1982
Background: The Research Institute of Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics (UIBK partner) is Key Enabling Technologies Centre (KETs) of the University of Innsbruck.
More information: company website, Facebook