New water-based battery to store solar and wind energy

Stanford scientists have developed a manganese-hydrogen battery that could fill a missing piece in the nation’s energy puzzle by storing wind and solar energy for when it is needed, lessening the need to burn carbon-emitting fossil fuels.

Postdoctoral scholar Wei Chen holds a prototype of what could one day be a ginormous battery designed to store solar and wind energy thanks to a water-based chemical reaction developed in the lab of Stanford materials scientist Yi Cui. (Image credit: Jinwei Xu)
Postdoctoral scholar Wei Chen holds a prototype of what could one day be a ginormous battery designed to store solar and wind energy thanks to a water-based chemical reaction developed in the lab of Stanford materials scientist Yi Cui. (Photo by Jinwei Xu)

Stanford specialists have built up a water-based battery that could give a modest method to store wind or sun oriented energy produced when the sun is sparkling and the wind is blowing so it can be encouraged once again into the electric lattice and be redistributed when the request is high.

The manganese-hydrogen battery could potentially generate a mere 20 milliwatt-hours of electricity, which is on par with the energy levels of LED flashlights that hang on a key ring. According to researchers, it could be one of the missing pieces in the nation’s energy puzzle – a way to store unpredictable wind or solar energy so as to lessen the need to burn reliable but carbon-emitting fossil fuels when the renewable sources aren’t available.

Yi Cui, a professor of materials science at Stanford said, “Despite the prototype’s diminutive output, the researchers are confident they can scale up this table-top technology to an industrial-grade system that could charge and recharge up to 10,000 times, creating a grid-scale battery with a useful lifespan well in excess of a decade.”

“What we’ve done is thrown a special salt into water, dropped in an electrode, and created a reversible chemical reaction that stores electrons in the form of hydrogen gas.”

Basically, the scientists urged a reversible electron-trade amongst water and manganese sulfate, a cheap, abundant industrial salt used to make dry cell batteries, fertilizers, paper and different items.

To imitate how a wind or solar source may bolster control into the battery, the scientists connected a power source to the model. The electrons streaming in responded with the manganese sulfate broke up in the water to leave particles of manganese dioxide sticking to the terminals. Excess electrons rose off as hydrogen gas, along these lines putting away that vitality for sometime later. Architects know how to re-make power from the vitality put away in hydrogen gas so the imperative following stage was to demonstrate that the water-based battery can be energized.

Scientists did this by re-attaching their energy source to the exhausted model, this time with the objective of instigating the manganese dioxide particles sticking to the cathode to join with water, recharging the manganese sulfate salt. When this salt was reestablished, approaching electrons ended up the overflow, and abundance power could rise off as hydrogen gas, in a procedure that can be rehashed and over and over.

Cui said, “We believe this prototype technology will be able to meet Department of Energy goals for utility-scale electrical storage practicality.”

Former DOE secretary and Nobel laureate Steven Chu said, “this prototype demonstrates the type of science and engineering that suggest new ways to achieve low-cost, long-lasting, utility-scale batteries.”

Cui said there are several types of rechargeable battery technologies on the market, but it isn’t clear which approaches will meet DOE requirements and prove their practicality to the utilities, regulators and other stakeholders who maintain the nation’s electrical grid.

For instance, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which store the small amounts of energy needed to run phones and laptops, are based on rare materials and are thus too pricey to store power for a neighborhood or city. Cui said grid-scale storage requires a low-cost, high-capacity, rechargeable battery. The manganese-hydrogen process seems promising.

“Other rechargeable battery technologies are easily more than five times of that cost over the lifetime,” Cui added.

Wei Chen, Postdoctoral scholar said novel chemistry, low-cost materials, and relative simplicity made the manganese-hydrogen battery ideal for low-cost grid-scale deployment.”

The model needs advancement work to substantiate itself. First and foremost it utilizes platinum as an impetus to goad the significant substance responses at the cathode that make the revive procedure proficient, and the cost of that part would be restrictive for huge scale sending. Be that as it may, the group is as of now taking a shot at less expensive approaches to persuade the manganese sulfate and water to play out the reversible electron trade. “We have distinguished impetuses that could bring us underneath the $100-per-kilowatt-hour DOE target,” he said.

Yi Cui is also a professor in the Photon Science Directorate at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, a senior fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy, and a member of Stanford Bio-X and the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. Additional co-authors include Guodong Li, a visiting scholar in materials science and engineering who is now with the Chinese Academy of Sciences; postdoctoral scholars Hongxia Wang, Jiayu Wan, Lei Liao, Guangxu Chen and Jiangyan Wang; visiting scholar Hao Zhang; and graduate students Zheng Liang, Yuzhang Li and Allen Pei.

The study is reported April 30 in Nature Energy.