Why batteries are important for renewable energy
Imagine your home running entirely on renewable energy such as wind and solar. Sounds great, but there’s a problem: the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.
This is where batteries come into play. Jimmy Jiang, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati, believes that the right kind of battery can help us store energy until we need it, making renewable energy sources more reliable.
The problems with current batteries
Traditional batteries, like those found in cars, use a mixture of sulfuric acid and water. Although these materials are cheap and easy to find, they don’t store much energy.
Plus, they can be quite dangerous. If the battery voltage becomes too high, the water can break down into hydrogen and oxygen, which can be explosive.
Therefore, these types of batteries are not ideal for storing the large amounts of energy that we would need to power an entire city.
A groundbreaking new battery design
Here comes the exciting part. Jiang and his students have developed a new type of battery that solves these problems. Firstly, their battery does not consume water, which makes them safer.
It can generate almost 4 volts of power, much more than traditional batteries. But the real kicker is that they found a way to make the battery without an expensive part called a membrane separator.
This membrane is like a wall inside the battery that separates the positive and negative sides. But it is expensive and not very efficient.
According to Jiang, removing the membrane could reduce the cost of the battery by up to 30% and make it cheaper to manufacture.
The team has already filed a provisional patent, and while Jiang says there’s still a lot of work to do, he believes we’re on the verge of a “battery revolution” within the next 20 years.
This new battery could be a game changer for renewable energy. If widespread, we could store energy more efficiently and at a lower cost, making wind and solar energy a more practical choice for everyone.
Countries are in a race to find cheaper and more efficient batteries, and this new design could well give us a head start in that race.
The research results can be found in Nature communication.
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Source: University of Cincinnati