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Startup Devises Liquid Metal Batteries for the Electricity Grid
2/26/2013

David Bradwell (left) and Donald Sadoway are co-founders of Ambri, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup that is developing a liquid-based battery they hope will be the foundation for the next-generation electricity grid.   (Source: MIT)
David Bradwell (left) and Donald Sadoway are co-founders of Ambri, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup that is developing a liquid-based battery they hope will be the foundation for the next-generation electricity grid.
(Source: MIT)

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Cabe Atwell
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Re: Risk Minerals
Cabe Atwell   6/10/2013 7:46:35 PM
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Charles,

Just a thought, but if the water "siting" was inside a sealed enclosure, only opened when necessary, would hydro be a better option? The size of the container to enclose a lake might be a bit sci-fi though...

C

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Risk Minerals
William K.   5/30/2013 10:37:48 PM
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What could be reasonable for bulk energy storage in fixed locations is good old lead batteries, since the lead is a common metal and fairly simple to recycle, and the technology is quite well understood. That is a bunch of reasons to consider a tecnology not right at the cutting edge.

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Risk Minerals
William K.   5/30/2013 10:35:05 PM
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Elizabeth, I believe that I have heard that same assertion previously. It certainly fits here as well.

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Liquid Metal?
Amclaussen   5/30/2013 3:30:51 PM
I was thinking exactly the same issues... But wandered a little aroud the thermodynamics of it: any heating (self heating) would represent a form of looses (like heating from mechanical friction or self heating by eddy currents in transformer cores)... And heating looses would raise inefficiency. Measuring some NiMH and LiPo's batteries for my R/C model airplanes with a good intelligent charger, reveals batteries have quite different values between energy charged (In) vs. energy delivered (out), but I seldom see discussions on this inefficiency, and no thermal insulation is perfect. In some cases, even dedicating some energy to maintain cooler Battery temperatures by using extra fans (driven from the same battery) is advantageous, but costs more energy wasted to keep the battery from melting itself. [high power electrical powered model airplanes with several horsepower motors].

Charles Murray
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Re: Risk Minerals
Charles Murray   3/14/2013 4:37:00 PM
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Agreed, Cabe. There are problems with pumped hydro -- another being the "siting" issues. That's where these monolithic batteries like Ambri's would fit.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Risk Minerals
Cabe Atwell   3/8/2013 4:18:35 PM
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Charles,

Exactly. Major problem there...evaporation and other water retention problems. Other issues come in the loss of power through the inefficient pumps and other electrical mechanisms. Not to mention the reconversion of the water back to electricity through turbines.

The battery cuts out a lot of the problems of other systems, cuts right to the chase, electrical power ready to go.

C

Charles Murray
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Re: Risk Minerals
Charles Murray   3/7/2013 6:29:55 PM
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When you say "water displacement," Cabe, are you referring to pumped hydro? Pumped hydro -- pumping water up to a higher spot and then using it to spin a generator -- is still the most common form of grid storage by far, I believe.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Risk Minerals
Cabe Atwell   3/5/2013 2:50:02 PM
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I know many are making batteries for storage already, but as I said, cost is high. Especially compared to old methods like water displacement. I also read about freezing, momentum, and weight storage of energy. All of which seemed silly.

Perhaps when capacitors reach higher density of surface area, they could be used.

C

Consultofactus
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Iron
Re: Risk Minerals
Consultofactus   3/5/2013 12:44:19 PM
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Yes, the known reserves of Antimony (Sb) are less than 2M tonnes. That may sound like a lot but antimony, like lead, is very heavy so those "40 foot containers" might contain as much 20 tonnes each. Worse yet, the huge percentage of antimony reserves are in China - which has recently shown a reluctance to expolit their rare-earths further than 2010 levels.

Charles Murray
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Re: Risk Minerals
Charles Murray   3/4/2013 7:52:52 PM
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I don't recall the price, Cabe, but several manufacturers are making lithium-ion grid storage batteries.

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1395&doc_id=248263

 

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