Making A Cheap Battery To Store Energy On The Electricity Grid

Photo: Quinn Rooney/GETTY

Scientists in the US have designed a durable and cheap battery to be used for storing energy on the electricity grid.

Batteries have long been considered an option for storing and regulating the energy supply from intermittent sources such as wind or solar in the electricity grid.

But costs have limited their adoption.

The new battery, composed of liquid-metal electrodes and a molten electrolyte, combines a high-performance metal (antimony) with a low-cost metal (lead) to produce an attractive energy storage solution.

All-liquid batteries have a longer life cycle and are simpler to manufacture than solid batteries.

Donald Sadoway Massachusetts Institute of Technology and colleagues had previously produced an all-liquid battery with an antimony–magnesium electrode which had good efficiency,

But it required high operating temperatures because of the high melting temperature of the antimony–magnesium alloy.

This new new battery substitutes magnesium with lead which is both cheaper and has a lower melting temperature.

As a result, the operating temperature, and potential operating cost, of the battery is reduced without compromising performance.

Details of the new battery are reported in the journal Nature.

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