Solar flow battery, new battery technology breakthrough.

Solar flow battery, new storage device technology breakthrough. Generating electrical energy from the sun is known to everyone. The most familiar form is to create the electric current with solar panels.

The solar power is not directly usable in our household in daily life. It is a different current than we get from our outlet. Through an inverter, a device that converts the electric current of the solar panels into the available current as supplied by the energy companies.

Anyone who wants an electrical device to function must have a connection to that network — Electric Power from the grid. With "grid", we mean the national power network.

Solar flow battery, new battery technology breakthrough.

The grid is used as a storage place for all the electricity that is not used at this moment. The leading supplier needs to generate a little less power, because you return the energy that you didn't use, to the network.

But our power network does not have a battery function. It is merely a distribution method to get from a large production centre to all smaller users. When all users produce more than the central exchange, the excess is lost.

If we talk about producing electrical energy with solar panels, this will only be when the sun is shining, so during the day. In the night we also need power. It is therefore useful if we could keep the excessively generated current of the day for the night. Or for other times. In the evening around dinner time for example. When everyone turns on their electric kitchen equipment.

Solar flow battery, new battery technology breakthrough.

We all know what a battery is. We do this in our flashlight, and we start the car with it. The cells in the torch get empty. We have to replace them. Rechargeable batteries are also available for purchase.

We charge these with power from the socket to be able to use them when the cells in the flashlight are empty. Charge the storage from the car by a device that generates electricity. This device, the alternator, is powered by the engine that operates on diesel or petrol.

In this way, we all use temporary storage of electrical energy. You can not use a battery from a flashlight to start your car. Conversely, you can use a cell from a vehicle  to let your flashlight shine. There are many types of batteries for many purposes. Researchers are working daily to improve the beneficial use of energy storage, or even to discover new methods.

In the past, we only knew the oxygen battery and is invented in 1879.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zinc–air batteries (non-rechargeable; IEC codes: A, P), and zinc–air fuel cells (mechanically rechargeable) are metal-air batteries powered by oxidizing zinc with oxygen from the air.

After many improvements and other compositions with different materials, the most modern used battery is now a Lithium-ion battery or a derivation of it. Like in smartphones and laptops.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery (abbreviated as LIB) is a type of rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery.

Solar flow battery, new battery technology breakthrough.

But all of them are only suitable for reasonably small-scale storage, with exceptions. Imagine that an average household needs a large size lithium battery for the entire time that the sun does not seem to supply them with electricity. This quickly costs several thousand euros.

Although the technology in an express train makes the production process cheaper, it remains a hefty price. Take, for example, a country like Portugal that is ideal for generating solar energy. In 2017 it has 10,839,514 inhabitants. Approximately 2,709,000 million households.

In order to be able to use all the energy we can generate during the day, we need 2,700,000 Milion Lithium ions cells. These are almost impossible to do, in terms of impressive numbers and the technical aspects. Fortunately, several researchers are working on a solution for this. One of these solutions could be a solar flow battery.

Solar flow battery technology

The name indicates it a bit, "flow batteries" or a battery with liquid energy storage. Simply put, a large tank containing a special fluid that holds the energy until we need it. As you can read in this article, there is big demand for electric energy storage.

Song Jin, a chemist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is working on this study and development of the solar flow battery. It works like a normal solar cell by converting sunlight to electricity immediately, or charging like a normal accu.

They have recently been in the news because they have been able to realize a major breakthrough in this area.

After years of experimenting, they have now achieved a result of 14.1% eficiency. Met deze techniek denken ze zelfs 25% te halen in de komende jaren.

Solar flow battery, new battery technology breakthrough.

Het zijn geen erg indrukwekkende cijfers. Maar het betekent wel dat ze een manier gevonden hebben om de flow cell beter te laten werken met nieuwe technieken.

Despite the low efficiency compared to the current energy storage in cells, this type of "battery" can be of great importance for the future. More storage capacity is simply a larger tank with more liquid, or an extra tank. Expansion of existing stock is therefore much more simply and more environmentally friendly.

Another big advantage is for large countries with a low population per m2. Like America and Russia, but also Africa. The existing energy plants could become smaller. And each area can have its own central office.

In the case of natural disasters, that means that only an affected area is without electricity. And not the whole area around it, as is often the case today. The impact of a disaster is reduced if help can be offered from neighbouring areas!

Energy from the Sun and different technics to use it, the future is born.