MIT’s new approach to the design of a liquid battery uses a passive, gravity-fed arrangement similar to an old-fashioned hourglass. The concept could offer great advantages due to the system’s low cost and the simplicity of its design and operation. The MIT team of researchers has made a demonstration version of the new battery.
Liquid flow batteries – in which the positive and negative electrodes are each in liquid form and separated by a membrane – are not a new concept, and some members of this research team unveiled an earlier concept three years ago.
The basic technology can use a variety of chemical formulations, including the same chemical compounds found in today’s lithium-ion batteries. In the new flow concept, key components are not solid slabs that remain in place for the life of the battery, but rather tiny particles that can be carried along in a liquid slurry. Increasing storage capacity simply requires bigger tanks to hold the slurry.
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