Currently, the energy grid is equipped to capture and manage consistent input from renewable resources such as sun and wind. However, this real-time capture and distribution of energy resources cannot fully take advantage of the excess energy that may be acquired during off peak use hours, foruse during peak users hours such as the evening. Electric companies are forced to use fossil fuels to make up for this gap.
Flow batteries are large (i.e. shipping container sized) batteries that are able to store grid scale overages for long periods of time. The flow battery developed at CU Boulder by chemistry professor Michael Marshak and his research group additionally utilizes cheaper commodity chemical resources, while acheiving high storage performace.
This has potential applications for electric companies and industries requiring energy storage for back up (such as IT services, grocery, security, etc.)
CU is currenlty applying for a Department of Energy (DOE) award and seeking additional funding opportunities for further develeopment.