Dr. Arjun Bhattarai, co-founder and chief technological officer of VFlowTech.

VFlowTech’s vision for a long-duration energy storage solution

The startup is banking on its unique technology that improves battery efficiency by 85%.

Research from Lux and other analysts have predicted that stationary energy storage solutions will grow to US$30b in annual revenues in Asia over the next 10 years. That and the belief that energy storage solutions are critical to unlocking the further potential from renewables are the reasons why Dr. Arjun Bhattarai and Dr. Avishek Kumar started VFlowTech.

VFlowTech banked on one thing for its energy storage solution: the Vanadium redox flow technology, which was developed after years of research at Nanyang Technological University.

“Both of us have strong expertise in the field of renewable energy, and we wanted to use our knowledge and expertise on Vanadium redox flow technology to provide an alternative solution to Lithium-Ion batteries—one that has a longer lifespan and also has a lower chance of catching fire, and is ideal for utility-scale storage, equally for off-grid systems relying on renewables and grid applications,” Bhattarai, now the chief technological officer of VFlowTech, explained.

According to Bhattarai, VFlowTech has a unique IP on electrolyte additive, making their Vanadium redox flow batteries operate at a much wider temperature which is particularly useful because this ensures that the battery is stable and less prone to degradation of electrolyte due to over-temperature operation.

“We have since designed and developed a unique power stack that can significantly reduce parasitic losses and improve the round-trip efficiency over 85%,” Bhattarai added.

Started in 2018, VFlowTech initially raised $4.07m (US$3m) in a pre-Series A funding round led by Wavemaker Partners, with participation from SEEDS Capital, Sing Fuels and other unnamed angel investors. The Singapore-based startup initially raised more than $1m (US$800k) in its seed funding round with participation from Temasek Foundation and Enterprise Singapore, making their total funding to date at over US$4m.

Bhattarai believes, due to the intermittent nature of solar or wind power generation, energy storage would be a key enabler for the energy transition to renewables.

“The falling cost of energy storage is making renewable energy microgrids economically viable and a reliable alternative to diesel. Our geographical focus is on emerging markets of Asia, where the lack of reliable grid coverage creates immediate revenue opportunities for us to replace diesel generators with 24/7 renewable power leveraging batteries or provide backup power solutions for industrial and commercial buildings facing unreliable grid situations. A true potential for VFlowTech would be achieving targets to power 20% of Asia’s off-grid and renewable energy market,” Bhattarai said.

Right now, VFlowTech is currently in talks to form commercial partnerships with distributors and other large corporations to enable mass adoption of their technology. It already has two projects for integrating its V-Flow battery application into EV charging infrastructure in South Korea and Thailand.

“[We] have already secured competitive grants to work on the next-generation power stack with German universities. Strong R&D and commercial deployment will ensure VFlowTech stays ahead. We are also working towards developing new applications and markets for future growth. Our vision is to be the industry leader in the field of long-duration energy storage solutions by providing cost-effective and reliable batteries,” Bhattarai added.

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