MIT has a new way to design batteries to store energy: Liquid flow devices whereby the positive and negative electrodes are liquid and separated from the membrane — something only those scientists and engineers really understand.
But the gist of it is this: The basic technology uses the same chemical formulations as today’s lithium-ion batteries. But the key components of it are not slabs but rather tiny particles. What that means is that the technology can increase storage capacity, the institution says.
“The new version, which substitutes a simple gravity feed for the pump system, eliminates that complexity,” the school says. “The rate of energy production can be adjusted simply by changing the angle of the device, thus speeding up or slowing down the rate of flow.”
Such flow batteries date back to the 1970s. But those earlier versions used materials that had low energy density, or a limited capacity to store energy in proportion to their weight. A major step forward is the development of the newer versions is that the batteries are high-density.