Startup Devises Liquid Metal Batteries for the Electricity Grid
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)
Yes, Cabe, I know cost effectiveness is part of the design plan of Ambri, but I guess it will remain to be seen until the batteries start shipping and are being used. And you're right, multimillion-dollar batteries would be a little pricey and probably not worth the investment. There are interesting innovations being made in lithium-ion batteries, as well, though, so you never know what designers may come up with.
Regulation and green energy is sure to benefit from the "giant battery" approach. Let's hope the cost doesn't reflect size. A lithium-ion battery that size would do the job too, but the cost would be in the multi-millions.
Yes, Greg, it's also good that the chemistry was able to be modified to meet the availability of minerals for the battery. But I suppose that is something that the inventors had to consider in the design. Often what works when something is first developed doesn't always work well for mass production.
While the chemistry may be very effective, keeping that much material that hot is going to require a bit of heating power and some very good insulation. So the practical utilization of the concept is a real challenge. Possibly use an atomic reactor to keep it hot, but what effect would the intense radiation have on the system? In summary, "it works in theory, but will it ever be practical." Keeping metals melted is a hot task indeed.
If I'm reading this correctly, the entire contents of the battery is in a liquid state. To liquify antimony and magnesium requires approximately 1200 degrees F. So, this battery is at that temperature to function?
Hey, what's in that 40' trailer over there? Oh, just 80,000 lbs of liquified metal. Is that a problem?
Great, thanks for the link, Chuck. Sadoway seems like a bit of a rock star...definitely a brilliant mind and this would be great if it really lived up to the potential, as I said before. I just think it's cool there are some big minds trying to tackle these problems, and he seems very passionate about it.
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
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