Sustainability of the
Again and again and again
Efficient use of resources and the circular economy
By choosing a CellCube system, our customers have chosen a long-term solution. And yet the operating lifetime extending beyond 20 years is still not enough for us. We take a “cradle to cradle” approach, meaning that our products and the individual components remain in the cycle for as long as possible. Why? In order to conserve resources and avoid waste.
Over 90% of the CellCube system is directly and conveniently reusable and recyclable. The majority of this reusable share comprises the electrolyte solution, which only has to be produced once. Water makes up the most of this liquid, which is enriched with vanadium sulfate, among other elements. Three-quarters of the annual demand for vanadium is obtained as a byproduct of steel production.
Our vanadium redox flow batteries differ from other storage solutions in that they are not made up of self-contained units, and yet they can be easily divided into their individual parts. The power unit, for instance, is made up of a variety of different components which we reuse directly after the end of the system’s lifecycle. In turn, other components can be reconditioned or recycled with minimal effort. We are also currently investigating recycling of the stacks (thermal recycling) and how we can best reintroduce the individual parts into the cycle.
The tanks: durable and recyclable
The main component in the energy unit is the electrolyte solution, which can be easily reused in the next battery. Because of the complex manufacturing and the use of high-quality materials, the lifecycle of the tank and the secondary safety container, which serves as protection against leaks, is well beyond 20 years. If they have to be decommissioned after 20 years, the tanks and the safety vessel can simply be sent to recycling.
The electrolyte: unlimited sustainability
The vanadium electrolyte solution is unlike traditional industrial waste. It is mainly made up of water, sulfuric acid and stabilizers like phosphoric acid. Unlike lithium ion batteries, access to this liquid active material is significantly easier, meaning that other than transferring the liquid, no further processes are necessary. Vanadium, which in this form is more valuable than vanadium pentoxide, can be reclaimed using chemical and electrochemical procedures or used directly in a new energy storage system. This is how sustainability is done!
Furthermore, the batteries of our latest CellCube development, Release 4, feature a technological innovation: a rebalancing system capable of monitoring and rectifying the state of electrolyte imbalance, preventing battery failure and contamination and ensuring optimal functionality of the electrolyte solution. Under normal operating conditions, the average oxidation state of the electrolyte is increasing, which can lead to imbalance and a loss of capacity. The CellCube Rebalancing System identifies this imbalance in real time and conducts a rebalancing process through an electrolysis cell. This eliminates the need to replace the electrolyte solution over the entire duration of battery operation.
At the end of the battery’s lifecycle, the electrolyte is purified and is then ready to be used in the next storage solution. When the entire system is decommissioned, the electrolyte solution is pumped out and purified of possible contaminants, the level of acidity and the concentration of the individual materials is checked, and the solution is pumped into a new system.
Other positive factors
In order to be able to use as many components as possible for as long as possible, our CellCube system is designed for reparability and is also very easy to repair. You can depend on it: Our technically adept and innovative service team can repair practically anything. It is important to us that every CellCube system can be reused for the long term and that its components can remain in the lifecycle for as long as possible.
Furthermore, the CellCube system runs quietly and emits no odors. This is yet another factor that differentiates our system from other solutions in energy supply.
Short distances for greater sustainability
Sourcing and supply chain
When it comes to procurement, CellCube places particular importance on regionality, short transportation distances and long-term partnerships characterized by common values and objectives.
Materials and components
100% of the tier 1 suppliers of our components are European companies. The electrolyte solution is only exception among the components, as this is delivered directly to the customer. In order to keep transportation distances to a minimum and to promote regional value creation and generate jobs locally, as many of our key components as possible are procured in the surrounding vicinity. 40% is sourced from less than 100 kilometers away, 50% from within 200 kilometers, and 70% from within 500 kilometers. We rely on long-term and dependable cooperation with our partners who support us in realizing our vision and our objectives while at the same time guaranteeing a resilient, efficient and stable supply chain.
Good to know: The CellCube system uses no rare earth metals.
Our procurement organization is positioned with strategic partners around the world. We work with the global market leaders in order to ensure an optimal supply of the electrolyte and to be able to provide every project site worldwide with a sustainable solution which is optimal in terms of scheduling, quality and costs.
Sustainable project environment
When it comes to installing a new CellCube system, we pay meticulously attention to sustainability throughout the whole environment. From the fencing surrounding the project to the foundation slab, we consider every aspect and ensure the proper disposal of construction site waste such as rags contaminated with chemicals. As previously mentioned, the electrolyte is delivered directly to the site in order to shorten the transportation distances, thus cutting CO2 emissions.
Sustainable production in Austria
Energy consumption at CellCube
We source 100% of the electricity for our entire company from renewable sources — in our opinion, to do otherwise would make no sense. Our pool vehicles are all electric cars, and we have our own charging station powered by an in-house PV plant.
At CellCube, we practice conservation in every sense of the word. We use very little water for our production. All waste generated in the company is separated and disposed of properly. Above all, we try to minimize the amount of waste generated. That begins with employee mealtimes and extends even beyond reusable packaging for deliveries.