Storage has long been a primary question related to the transition from powering the global economy using fossil fuels to renewable energy. What are we supposed to do when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining? There are number of technological solutions to that problem, but one of the most promising recent innovations is a saltwater battery developed by Aquion Technology.
Besides the issue of having energy when it isn’t sunny, there’s also the incentive of capturing power that is generated but not used during periods of excess, both of which are common with wind and solar energy.
In a field, where good ideas are more prevalent than products themselves, Aquion’s saltwater batteries are already available commercially and are relatively easy and cheap to manufacture (they are also designed with end of use in mind). They are deliberately made from non-toxic materials including salt water, manganese oxide and carbon. They are self-moderating – most batteries need some sort of mechanism to ensure heating and cooling happens safely – and they are expected to be long-lasting.
Clearly it’s still early days, but it looks like Aquion’s batteries could be one of the early success stories in renewable energy storage, even more importantly, it’s clear that storing energy is gradually becoming less of a barrier to the transition to renewable energy.
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