Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: VCG via Getty Images

Liquid metal battery could lower cost of storing renewable energy

It could be key to spreading the adoption of solar and wind power.
758 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

VCG via Getty Images

As dreamy as it might be to combine renewable energy sources with storage batteries, there's a problem: those batteries are expensive. It might take you years to recoup the costs. You'll be glad to hear, then, that Stanford scientists have a way to make those batteries more cost-effective. They've developed a liquid metal-based flow battery that can store electricity at a lower price, even on a large scale. A metal-producing mix of sodium and potassium serves as the negative side of the battery, providing nearly twice the maximum voltage of typical flow batteries (making them high-value) without having to resort to exotic chemicals or extreme temperatures.

It sounds simple, but there was a challenge to making this work. The team had to use a ceramic membrane that combined aluminum oxide and potassium to separate the positive and negative materials while still allowing a current.

There's still some tweaking left, such as optimizing the membrane to improve the power output and choosing a liquid for the positive side that won't weaken the membrane. And like many battery experiments, there's a long road from a successful lab test to something you can buy. There's a strong incentive to make this a reality, though. If it lowered the price of storage batteries, both homeowners and electrical grid operators might be more likely to switch to solar or wind power knowing that they'd recover their investments that much sooner.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
758 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

View
Playing 'The Witcher 3' on the Switch shouldn't work, but it does

Playing 'The Witcher 3' on the Switch shouldn't work, but it does

View
Grammarly's keyboard suggests synonyms to make you feel smart

Grammarly's keyboard suggests synonyms to make you feel smart

View
Interactive murder mystery game 'Erica' gets a surprise release

Interactive murder mystery game 'Erica' gets a surprise release

View
Watch the first 'Disintegration' trailer from the co-creator of 'Halo'

Watch the first 'Disintegration' trailer from the co-creator of 'Halo'

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr