Scientists at MIT have proposed an improved battery system, which should be a good replacement for traditional systems of energy storage on a large scale. Donald Sedouey and his colleagues are already running a company to produce liquid batteries scale power grid, which are based on the process of separating the molten materials due to their non-uniform density. But last week in the journal Nature, a new article published Sedoueem, Kangly Wong and Kai Jiang, along with seven colleagues, in which the scientists picked seven different metals for molten layers used in batteries, previously developed by the team.

Sedouey, a chemistry professor of materials science, argues that the new formula will allow the battery to operate at a temperature of 200 degrees Celsius lower than the previous version. In addition to a lower operating temperature, which should simplify the design of the battery and extend its life, the new iteration will be cheaper.

The battery uses two layers of molten metal, separated by layers of molten salt, which acts as an electrolyte (a layer through which charged particles are at least charging or discharging the battery). Since each of these three materials are different density, they are divided into layers, like oil on water.

The original system using magnesium for one of the electrodes of the battery and antimony for another, worked at a temperature of 700 degrees Celsius. With the development of new electrodes of lithium and mixtures of lead and antimony will allow to operate at a temperature of from 450 to 500 degrees.

Extensive testing has shown that even after 10 years of daily charging and discharging system should save about 85% of its original efficiency, which is a key factor for attracting investment by utilities.

Currently, the only widely used system for enterprises collecting electricity gidronakachka remains when the water is pumped into the tank at a height when there is surplus power, and then flows down through the turbine to generate electricity when it is necessary. Such systems can be used in conjunction with irregular sources, such as wind and solar energy, and with variations in demand. But because of the inevitable friction loss in pumps and turbines such systems return about 70% of the energy.


Donald Sedouey

Sedouey says that the new system is already liquid batteries can achieve the same efficiency of 70%, and then it will get better. And unlike the hydraulic system with the pump – which is only possible in areas with an excess of water and with a free Photo – liquid batteries can be placed almost anywhere and in any size.

“The bottom line is that we do not need a mountain and do not need much water, it gives us a lot of advantages,” – says Sedouey.

The biggest surprise for the researchers was that the electrode based on antimony and lead works very well. They found that while the antimony can provide high operating voltage, and lead relatively low melting point, a mixture of two metals allows to reduce the overall melting point without a voltage drop.

“We had hoped that the characteristics of the two metals will be nonlinear. That is to say that the operating voltage is not strictly opolovineno. They proved to be non-linear, but more than we expected: the voltage dropped. It shocked us. ”

In addition to providing improved materials for the battery system, scientists have discovered a whole new spectrum of research. In the future, the team will continue to try to combine other metals, which can provide an even lower operating temperature, the cost and increase the performance of the system. Liquid metals work fundamentally new way.

Robert Metcalfe, Professor of Innovation at the University of Texas, who was not involved in the work, said following:

“The Internet has given us the cheapest and cleanest way to the use of many types of digital storage. Likewise, we will solve the problem with cheap and clean energy and its storage. Energy will be more accessible, effective, inexpensive and can store more and more energy. “


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