Inexpensive, Metal-free, Organic Flow Battery

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OPEN 2012
Los Angeles, California
Project Term:
03/01/2013 - 03/19/2018

Technology Description:

University of Southern California (USC) is developing a water-based, metal-free, grid-scale flow battery that will be cheaper and more rapidly produced than other batteries. Flow batteries store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container. This allows for cost-effective scalability because adding storage capacity is as simple as expanding the tank. Batteries for grid-scale energy storage must be inexpensive, robust, and sustainable—many of today’s mature battery technologies do not meet all these requirements. Using innovative designs and extremely low-cost organic materials, USC’s new flow battery has the potential to reduce cost, increase durability, and store increased amounts of excess energy, thereby promoting greater renewable energy deployment.

Potential Impact:

If successful, USC’s flow battery would use readily available chemicals as its active material and withstand 2-3 times as many charge and discharge cycles as today’s best grid-scale storage technologies at 20% of the cost.


A more efficient and reliable grid would be more resilient to potential disruptions.


Electricity generation accounts for over 40% of U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Enabling large-scale contributions of wind and solar power for our electricity generation would result in a substantial decrease in CO2 emissions.


Increases in the availability of wind and solar power would reduce fossil fuel demand, resulting in reduced fuel prices and more stable electricity rates.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik
Project Contact:
Prof. Sri Narayan
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


ITN Energy Systems, Inc.

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