Scalable, low cost, renewable energy battery. What's not to like?

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  • Scalable, low cost, renewable energy battery. What's not to like?
  • CaptJon
    Member

    I understood none of that. What’s the deal?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Brilliant.. but sod the national grid – that has huge implications for local power generation too, doesn’t it?

    You could store all that solar power you generate when it’s sunny – great news for us temperate dwellers. You could also possibly have significantly smaller PV arrays too.

    Capt Jon – it’s a battery, but one that can be made really big, and really cheaply.

    Premier Icon wonny j
    Subscriber

    Looks promising but also needs a good few years of development.

    Questions for domestic use (e.g. with solar): cost, energy density, size, longevity, fire risk, charging time.

    Environmental impact of both production and disposal…

    CountZero
    Member

    A house with a large battery like this installed would make good use of off-peak energy storage, too.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    Environmental impact of both production and disposal…

    fair point. anyone got a COSSH sheet on Lithium Polysulphides?

    Maybe they need to have a word with Boeing. Might be a good replacement for the ones they’ve got on the 787…

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Also the fact it’s only in a lab, and they don’t actually give any figures on scaling. An awful lot of stuff which works well in the lab doesn’t scale to the real world, and I can’t believe it’s an order of magnitude more compact than current storage, in which case you’ll still need a ridiculous amount of it to really help out with energy storage to make wind power more realistic.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    The fact that they’ve gone public about it now and are talking about scalability implies that they, the people who have invented it, have a pretty good understanding of scalability. I expect that, being research scientists, they are aware of things in the lab not panning out in real life..!

    I think the point is that being a liquid you can easily fill big tanks with it, which you can’t do so well with solid state materials. When was the last time you saw a battery the size of a house?

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    The fact that they’ve gone public about it now and are talking about scalability implies that they, the people who have invented it, have a pretty good understanding of scalability

    It implies they’re aware scalability is an issue. Nothing more than that.

    The trouble is, whilst you might be able to make batteries the size of a house, you’ve still got to put them somewhere, and the storage requirement to use renewables on a large scale is a lot bigger than most people think – you’d need an awful lot of house sized batteries.

    Not that I don’t think it looks promising, and I’m certainly glad this research is being done and getting somewhere, but I suspect it’s a lot further from wide scale use than some are imagining. Or maybe I’m just a cynic realist.

    TooTall
    Member

    I’ve been watching the zinc-iron flow batteries with interest:

    http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/22/zinc-iron-redox-flow-batteries-zinc-air-energy-storage/

    Nice and big and fairly common and easily processed components.

    CaptJon
    Member

    molgrips – Member
    Capt Jon – it’s a battery, but one that can be made really big, and really cheaply.

    Thanks, i got that bit. How does it work? Why is it special? What’s different to current batteries?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I suspect it’s a lot further from wide scale use than some are imagining.

    I dont’ see anyone saying it’s just about ready to roll out… I think you maybe are thinking that because you feel the need to be cynical. Perhaps you enjoy it 🙂

    We’ve just posted because it’s an interesting technology that’s all. I’m sure none of these posters, the article author, or the scientists think it’s the messiah in brown liquid form.

    Here’s their abstract:

    http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/EE/C3EE00072A

    They got 190Wh per litre which means that something the size of a hot water tank could hold in the region of 20kWh. A typical house might use 10kWh per day. So if you could fill it up during the day, it could easily be enough to see you through the evening and night.

    A big if, of course. It looks like an averave domestic PV installation would generate roughly 5kWh per day averaged out. That’s not going to power your whole house but the key point is that you could easily store domestic PV output from the day to use locally in the evening, which solves a key problem with solar afaik.

    Why is it special? What’s different to current batteries?

    It’s because it’s a liquid. Normal batteries have to be very carefully and intensively made, because you have one or two solid materials that need to be manufactured in such a way to maximise their contact with each other in some kind of matrix. This is quite hard – recent advances in improving normal li-ion technology are all about the material that stores the energy generating stuff and improving how well they are in contact. And degradation in those materials is what causes the battery to eventually die, afaik.

    Because this is a liquid, you can just pour it into a tank. Bigger tank = more capacity, without any additional complex manufacturing.

    CaptJon
    Member

    Thanks Mol.

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