MIT Innovation Brings to the Fore Flow Battery to Store Solar and Wind Power Cheaper

August 27, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Renewable energy sources are a major factor in the development of an economy these days. Besides, such forms of alternate energy options help the planet live longer too.

Energy sources like solar and wind cannot be directly connected to the power grid, since the intensity of electricity produced from these sources show a large variation according to the availability of sunlight and wind. They need to be stored in batteries and the stored electricity can be discharged continuously.

Conventional batteries for storing these kinds of electricity contain a porous membrane between the anode and cathode to prevent short circuits while facilitating charge carrying ions to move between them.

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But such membranes reduce the efficiency off the battery and increase its weight. So here comes a solution to this hassle.

Researchers from MIT have come forward with a new battery with some amazing specialties.

The new battery is hydrogen-bromine fuel cell that boasts a power density in an order higher than that of lithium-ion batteries and three times greater than other systems that do not use a membrane.

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The new invention needs to be seen as a quantum leap in this arena. The researchers removed the membrane, and used a process in fluid dynamics called laminar flow to overcome the problem of short circuiting.

Here, the researchers built a channel between cathode and anode. With this, they pumped liquid bromine over a graphite cathode and hydrobromic acid under a porous anode, while flowing hydrogen gas across the anode.

Hydrogen and bromine react with the electrodes to store energy and release it via an external circuit. The new invention will help in overcoming the limitations in using renewable energy sources.

We just hope this innovation would soon get to a mass usable mode. What is your take on this?

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