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Stanford researchers announce new water-based battery

Researchers from Stanford University have published an article in the Nature Energy journal outlining a new type of battery that could have applications for wind and solar power storage.

Even when using well-located, well-designed wind turbines with advanced lubricants from Mobil UK stockists, windfarms are still sometimes criticised for the inconsistent generation that results from varying wind speeds. Storage is becoming an increasingly popular way to address this, with power being stored during periods of higher wind speeds and lower demand to be used when wind speeds drop or demand peaks. Current battery technology, such as lithium-ion cells, are still some way off being entirely practical for grid storage needs, however.

The new manganese-hydrogen battery could offer a much cheaper way to store energy for the grid. The described prototype is just a few inches high and only releases 20 MW, which is about enough to power a small LED torch. Despite this, the researchers argue that the technology can be scaled up to useful a grid-scale battery capable of being charged and discharged up to ten thousand times, enough for more than ten years.

Speaking to Stanford News, Professor of Materials Science Yi Cui explained the new battery:

“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.”

Cui also said he was seeking patent protection for the battery and looking to form a company to exploit its commercial potential.

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