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Battery technologies for molten salt 50-year-old is given new life

Технологии батарей на расплавленной соли 50-летней давности обретают новую жизнь

One of the main problems of renewable energy, particularly with solar and wind is the dependence of generation time of day or weather conditions. To change this situation is possible if the industry will be provided a cheap, durable and capacious battery, which can be used to store energy at the level of Central networks and, if necessary, put it back.

Thanks to the good performance, high energy density and low weight, in the world of consumer electronics and electric vehicles now dominate the lithium battery. But lithium is too expensive for energy storage across the network, and when it comes to creating batteries for the whole city, the size and weight fade into the background, giving way to the low cost, safety and reliability technology.

To develop such energohranilische will help method proposed by a group of MIT researchers, who addressed the idea 50 years ago. Although the chemical composition of the battery based on molten sodium salt, were first described in 1968, this concept has never been applied in practice due to one significant drawback: its use required a thin dividing membrane, and the only known material with the necessary properties for this item have been short-lived and fragile ceramics.

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With allowing only a certain type of electron membranes with a thickness comparable to paper, in the real operating conditions of the battery subjected to premature damage. Therefore, in addition to a few specialized applications, the system never widely implemented.

American scientists used a new approach in which the functions of this membrane are metal mesh, coated with titanium nitride. It is much more durable and flexible material that can withstand the hard operation of industrial energy storage systems.

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“I believe that this is a breakthrough, says Donald Sadoway, the head of research. Because for the first time in five decades, this type of battery, the advantages of which include cheap and available raw materials, very safe performance and ability to withstand many charge cycles without degradation – can finally get a practical application.”

The membrane steel grating can be used in a wide range of storage systems using molten salts. Although it is not applicable to a small mobile batteries, such as smartphones or electric cars, the researchers believe that their invention could be a turning point for mass adoption of large-scale stationary and cheap energochemie.


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