Wind & Wave Energy could
if this new battery
can be developed.
It works and lights a LED bulb - New Concept Flow Battery
A research team from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have devised what just might prove to be a relatively low-cost, long-life flow battery based on Lithium.
Flow batteries are currently the only viable type of battery to house the very large amount of energy needed for storing the power from wind turbines.
Current designs are expensive and difficult to maintain because of the chemistry involved.
This new design might just prove to be the best design to date.
The need for grid level electrical storage is growing at a very fast rate because of the rapid growth of wind farms, wave energy etc. These forms of energy are not on demand and therefore a high percentage of the energy goes to waste. For instance, the wind may blow best at night when there is the least need for power. All that excess power goes completely to waste. If it could be stored, it would make the use of clean energy far more efficient.
This new flow battery offers a much simpler and less expensive design, and additionally have the advantage of a long working life – unlike some current flow batteries.
Current types of flow batteries utilise pumps to circulate two different liquids through an interaction tank where the business takes place. The workings involve the use of a membrane that separates the liquids but allows the reaction to take place. The disadvantages are (1) the price of liquids with costly rare materials such as vanadium, and the delicate membrane which is both costly and requires lots of maintenance.
The new design uses only a single stream of liquid, and therefore does not require a membrane. The chemicals involved are relatively inexpensive lithium and sulfur.
The interaction is with a piece of lithium metal coated with a barrier that permits electrons to pass without corroding the metal. On the discharge cycle lithium polysulfides, absorb lithium ions; on charging cycle, they are released back into the liquid. The chemicals are dissolved in an organic solvent, which is much less corrosive than current systems.
The research team leader is quoted as saying that; "In initial lab tests, the new battery also retained excellent energy-storage performance through more than 2,000 charges and discharges, equivalent to more than 5.5 years of daily cycles"
Currently the system is only at the “suck it and see” stage” in a simple glass bottle but it does work.
Next step – the step that sinks 90+% of research projects – is to build a full size version and prove it - in the real world.
Good luck guys.