Due the the variety of services flow batteries can provide, they can be used in many applications by different players. As each country has its own way to organize the energy market (regulation being a key factor almost anywhere), there are also different ways for players to get involved in energy storage.
The way energy storage develops in advanced economies, for instance, has a lot to do with grid features (age, degree of interconnection with neighboring grids, etc.), the energy mix (especially the penetration rate of intermittent renewable energy), the energy policy, the decisions end-users can make, etc. The situation can be very different in emerging economies, where the grid is not as mature. Very large growth in urban areas combined with uncertainties about the energy mix, for instance, can make it difficult to plan infrastructure changes over the years to come, and it can become compelling to install energy storage alongside renewable energy production units, just to make sure the grid can remain manageable. In other cases, rural communities will opt for energy storage simply because combining it with solar or wind energy is the fastest way to electrify the area, long before the grid eventually reaches it. This is strikingly similar to the telecommunication sector in the last few years, with rural areas being connected by cell phones rather than landlines.
The combination of energy storage and renewable energy production can also be used for remote communities (islands, mountainous areas) so as to curb expensive fossil fuel consumption, or in temporary sites (civil works, military operations).
Storing energy can also be done with consumption and not only production in mind. An industrial plant can buy cheap electricity at night, store it and use it in peak times, when the price is much higher. The same thing can be done to better manage electricity consumption in a building.
As redox batteries store energy in a stable chemical form, they can be used for emergency purposes, much like a diesel power generator, for instance in hospitals or to assist in a grid black start.
Redox flow batteries can therefore be used, purchased or installed by players such as:
- Electrical engineering companies
- Grid operators
- Local communities
- Renewable energy farm operators or developers
- Industrial operators
The range of applications is wide:
- Renewable energy management
- Grid management
- Smart buildings
- Emergency energy supply…