Long-lasting flow battery could run for more than a decade with minimum upkeep
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Posted: February 19th, 2017
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new flow battery that stores energy in organic molecules dissolved in neutral pH water. This new chemistry allows for a non-toxic, non-corrosive battery with an exceptionally long lifetime and offers the potential to significantly decrease the costs of production. Flow batteries store energy in liquid solutions in external tanks - the bigger the tanks, the more energy they store. Flow batteries are a promising storage solution for renewable, intermittent energy like wind and solar but todays flow batteries often suffer degraded energy storage capacity after many charge-discharge cycles. The Harvard team was able to engineer a battery that loses only one percent of its capacity per 1000 cycles. Lithium ion batteries dont even survive 1000 complete charge/discharge cycles, said [researcher Michael] Aziz. Because we were able to dissolve the electrolytes in neutral water, this is a long-lasting battery that you could put in your basement, said [researcher Roy] Gordon. If it spilled on the floor, it wouldnt eat the concrete and since the medium is noncorrosive, you can use cheaper materials to build the components of the batteries, like the tanks and pumps. The Department of Energy (DOE) has set a goal of building a battery that can store energy for less than $100 per kilowatt-hour. If you can get anywhere near this cost target then you change the world, said Aziz.
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