Donald R. Sadoway – a prominent member of The Electrochemical Society and electrochemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge – has led a team of researchers at MIT to improve a proposed liquid battery system that could help make sources of renewable energy more viable and prove to be a competitor for conventional power plants.
This from MIT News:
Sadoway, the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry, says the new formula allows the battery to work at a temperature more than 200 degrees Celsius lower than the previous formulation. In addition to the lower operating temperature, which should simplify the battery’s design and extend its working life, the new formulation will be less expensive to make, he says.
Sadoway and colleagues have already started a company to produce electrical-grid-scale liquid batteries under this formula.
“Nature tapped us on the shoulder and said, ‘You know, there’s a better say!’” Sadoway said. “And because there has been little commercial interest in exploring the properties and potential uses of liquid metals and alloys of the type that are most attractive as electrodes for liquid metal batteries, I think there’s still room for major discoveries in this field.”
This from Nature:
In a paper published on 21 September in Nature, researchers describe how by replacing the magnesium in an earlier molten-metal battery with lead they obtained a device that runs at lower temperatures — which could make the technology more competitive for large-scale use on the electric grid.
After extensive testing, the findings show that even after 10 years of daily charging and discharging, the system should retain about 85 percent of its initial efficiency. For Sadoway and colleagues, this is the key factor for making this technology an attractive investment for electric utilities – and a way to get one step closer to more viable sources of renewable energy.
Take a look at Sadoway’s TEDTalk to see what the future of renewable energy looks like and how energy storage will be crucial to its success.