Clean energy is the main solution to stop the increase of climate change. Solar and wind are the main sources of clean energy. But both are fickle; The wind doesn’t always blow and the sunlight disappears at night and is rare on very cloudy days. They are not reliable for direct supply to the electrical network without interruption. On the other hand, although lithium-ion batteries can store energy efficiently, they rely on a finite resource and may never be cheap.
Flow batteries, in which electrolytes flow from a storage tank through an electrochemical cell, are the rechargeable batteries that hold the most promise for large-scale energy storage in solar and wind power plants. However, they are still too expensive and heavy to be competitive.
Nian Liu’s team at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in the United States has developed a more compact flow battery cell configuration that reduces cell size by up to 75% and consequently reduces cell size . And the cost of the whole flow battery. This innovation could lead to major advances in the energy sector.
To validate their new battery setup, the researchers used four different chemistries. Of these, they found that with the new cell configuration, the zinc iodide chemical is the most energy-intensive option, making it the most efficient for many applications. In addition, zinc iodide itself offers several advantages compared to lithium: the raw material is more readily available, and it can also be converted into zinc oxide and made to dissolve in acid, making it recyclable. becomes very easy.
Researchers working in the Georgia Tech lab (Photo: Georgia Tech)
Using zinc iodide chemistry, the flow battery in its new configuration is capable of performing well for over 2,500 cycles. As far as its cost is concerned, everything indicates that it could be a little less than a quarter of the cost of a conventional flow battery, especially if recycled electrolyte is used.
Liu and colleagues discuss the technical details of their new flow battery setup in a paper titled “A sub-millimetre bundled microtubular flow battery cell with ultra-high volumetric power density” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal. (Font: ncyt d amazing,