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Vietnamese scientist promotes use of renewable energy storage

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Nguyen Duy Tam hopes the State will pave the way for the development of projects in the fields of transformation and renewable energy storage.

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Nguyen Duy Tam in Singapore

 

Tam was one of 200 delegates attending the first Global Young Intellectual Forum in late 2018. He came from Nanyang Technology University to talk about the outcomes of his research on using solar radiation sources in Vietnam.

The famous scientist’s name is associated with research on Vanadium redox flow battery, or VRFB.

NASA suggested its use in the context of the global energy crisis in 1970. In the late 1980s, after a research team from New South Wales University discovered and ran the battery system, research on this kind of battery increased, together with the appearance of commercial VRFB.

Unlike normal batteries, VRFB has technical characteristics compatible with renewable energy production systems which are unstable and dependent on weather. The strong point of the battery is that it is recyclable and environmentally friendly.

However, VRFB still cannot be used on a large scale because of high production costs.

As a postgraduate at Nanyang Technology University, Tam became one of four members admitted to the research team on VRFB. He needed to find solutions to improve the thermal stability of electrolytes, the most important component of vanadium battery system.

The electrolyte of VRFB is a solution containing a mixture of vanadium-soluble salts in sulfuric acid. The major drawback of this solution is that it will precipitate at temperatures above 40°C. Therefore, during the operation, a cooling system is needed to hinder the precipitation process, ensuring safe operation. 

Tam's research, if successful, would help increase life expectancy, increase capacity, and reduce cooling costs, and therefore, reduce product costs significantly.

In the first two years, because of the lack of experience and the decision to follow previous research orientations, Tam could not find a suitable compound. But in the third year, Tam found an optimal compound with outstanding thermal stability capability which can be created with low costs and is friendly to the environment.

Tam, in the fourth year, had to prove operation capability of the vanadium battery system. The system using the new compound still could operate safely for a long time at a temperature of over 50oC. 

The technology was transferred to VFlowTech, a startup specializing in vanadium batteries.

Tam hopes that in the future universities and institutes in Vietnam will pay higher attention to the fields of transformation and renewable energy storage.

 

Source: VietNamNet

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