Liquid batteries could significantly cut the cost of solar and wind energy installations

Developed by Harvard researchers, this is one technology waiting to be adopted and has a ready market for it.

One of the issues facing battery technology is not just their capacity to retain their charge but also, more importantly, their lifespan. Even a lithium-ion pack can become useless after a couple of years of heavy use.

This applies not to just our smartphone but if you think in terms of energy storage systems, the problem of battery lifespan becomes daunting.

This is the area where researchers from Harvard University are now applying themselves and have come up with a rather ingenious system – a flow battery – one that stores its energy in liquid solutions. This system holds promise since such batteries could last for more than a decade.

The trick the Harvard researchers used was to modify the molecules in the electrolytes, specifically the viologen and the ferrocene so as to make them more water soluble, stable and resistant to degradation.

As a result of their experiments, when dissolved in neutral water, the electrolyte loses just 1% of its capacity for every 1,000 cycles. In real world terms, it would take several years of usage, before you notice any degradation in its performance.

The usage of neutral water as a medium to store the energy is a welcome news since it not only goes easy on your bank account but also in case of a mishap, it won’t wreck your house, all you will need is a mop up to remedy the situation. Furthermore, the usage of water makes the design of the battery more sustainable and economically viable.

With renewable energy becoming increasingly more cost effective, long lasting batteries could be extremely useful. There is a definitely a growing market for this tech.

Now, you can finally install solar power at your house knowing that the cost of energy storage will not wipe out the savings on your electricity bill.


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