Batteries Are the Heart of Renewable Energy

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Courtesy of Stanford Magnets

US researchers have made a vital step ahead in the pursuit to amass electricity from irregular energy resources like solar energy and wind energy.

A Harvard University group has turned up with a technique to cut down the expenditure of flow battery technology that is competent of storing energy on big scales within an electrical power grid. Grid-scale storage for renewable resources could be a worthwhile step creating solar and wind energies more reliable and economical. Whereas flow battery structures are suitable for amassing large amounts of energy in an inexpensive way, they were earlier dependable on chemicals that are costly or difficult to preserve and to fetch up the costs.

Previously, flow batteries have chemistries supported on metals. Vanadium is generally employed in the majority of highly developed commercial flow battery technology. However, the major shortcoming is that its price is moderately high. Other alternatives consist of expensive metal catalysts, for instance, platinum.

The researchers say that their innovative battery does not use any valuable metal catalyst and has a fundamental chemistry, which is metal-free and is dependable on naturally found and easily affordable chemicals known as “quinines”.

Basics of A Battery:

  • Electrolyte: 

Electrolyte in the battery is generally a gel or liquid comprising a base, a salt, or an acid. In these batteries, this medium enables electric charge to pass through the two electrodes.

  • Electrode: 

Batteries hold two kinds of electrode where reactions occur.  In the reaction, one electrode produces electrons and the other one absorbs them, thus, generating electrical energy.

These compounds are organic and soluble in water and are identical to chemicals that store up energy in animals and plants. However, these molecules are inexpensive and are available in all types of crude oils and green vegetables.

Additional Battery Approaches for Grid Storage:

  • Sodium-ion:

 It works similarly to the lithium-ion batteries, but assures lower costs as sodium is found abundantly in the nature as compared to lithium.

  • Lithium-ion: 

It is a kind of rechargeable battery in which charged lithium atoms flow from the positive electrode towards the negative electrode while charging, and goes back while discharging.

  • Liquid metal: 

It comprises of a lighter liquid metal electrode floating on the top and a thick positive liquid metal electrode at the base of the battery. A molten salt electrolyte is found in-between them.

Flow batteries also store energy in chemical solutions surrounded by outer tanks just like the solid-electrode batteries do in the mobile devices and cars.

A flow battery amasses the energy as hydrogen gas outside the fuel cell. When you want to transform the chemical energy into electrical energy, you need to run it from the fuel cell to produce electricity.

It is a remarkable way to store huge amount of electrical energy, if we can make it reasonably price and secure and we have taken a crucial step in that direction now.

About Stanford Magnets:

Based in California, Stanford Magnets has been involved in the R&D and sales of licensed Rare-earth magnets, Neodymium magnets and SmCo magnets, ceramic magnets, flexible magnets and magnetic assemblies since the mid of 1980s. We supply all these types of magnets in a wide range of shapes, sizes and grades.

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