From: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Published October 11, 2017 05:25 PM

Making renewable power more viable for the grid

Wind and solar power are increasingly popular sources for renewable energy. But intermittency issues keep them from connecting widely to the U.S. grid: They require energy-storage systems that, at the cheapest, run about $100 per kilowatt hour and function only in certain locations.

Now MIT researchers have developed an “air-breathing” battery that could store electricity for very long durations for about one-fifth the cost of current technologies, with minimal location restraints and zero emissions. The battery could be used to make sporadic renewable power a more reliable source of electricity for the grid.

For its anode, the rechargeable flow battery uses cheap, abundant sulfur dissolved in water. An aerated liquid salt solution in the cathode continuously takes in and releases oxygen that balances charge as ions shuttle between the electrodes. Oxygen flowing into the cathode causes the anode to discharge electrons to an external circuit. Oxygen flowing out sends electrons back to the anode, recharging the battery.

Continue reading at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Image: MIT researchers have developed an “air-breathing” battery that could store electricity for very long durations for about a third the price of current technologies, with minimal location restraints and zero emissions. Courtesy of the researchers. Left photo: Felice Frankel.

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