Stanford scientists have developed a water-based battery that could provide a cheap way to store wind or solar energy, which can be fed back into the electric grid and redistributed on high demand. The prototype manganese-hydrogen battery, described in the journal Nature Energy, stands just three inches tall and generates a mere 20 milliwatt hours of electricity, which is on par with the energy levels of LED flashlights one might hang on a key ring.
The researchers are confident they can take this table-top technology up to an industrial-grade system that could charge and recharge up to 10,000 times, creating a grid-scale battery with a useful lifespan well in excess of a decade. According to Yi Cui, a professor at Stanford University in the US, manganese-hydrogen battery technology could be one of the missing pieces in the energy puzzle – a way to store unpredictable wind or solar energy so as to lessen the need to burn reliable but carbon-emitting fossil fuels when the renewable sources are not available.
“What we have done is thrown a special salt into water, dropped in an electrode, and created a reversible chemical reaction that stores electrons in the form of hydrogen gas,” Cui said. Read More
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