Battery expertise utilized in outer area could possibly be a game-changer on Earth
Lithium-ion has turn out to be the dominant battery expertise utilized in vitality storage functions world wide, however that does not imply it is the one, and even one of the best, expertise obtainable. Many corporations are engaged on completely different battery chemistries that would present safer, longer lasting and finally more economical choices.
One various that has been little uncovered to this point is battery chemistry with a historical past of over 30 years of profitable operation. It’s a metal-hydrogen battery, which has been utilized by NASA in area missions, together with the Hubble Area Telescope, the Mars Curiosity rover, and the Worldwide Area Station.
“[The battery was] designed for a use case the place these aerospace satellites and so forth wanted a battery that might stand up to the tough local weather of outer area, which suggests very excessive temperatures, extraordinarily low temperatures, and which might have then an infinite lifespan and would require no upkeep ”, Jorg Heinemann, CEO of EnerVenue, mentioned as a visitor on The POWER podcast.
“They labored rather well with over 30,000 cycles – 30,000 cycles is like charging the battery and discharging it thrice a day for 30 years,” he mentioned. For comparability, Heinemann mentioned essentially the most sturdy lithium-ion batteries can deal with round 3,000 cycles, or a couple of tenth of the cycle life.
The metal-hydrogen battery doesn’t comprise any poisonous materials and, in contrast to lithium-ion expertise, it doesn’t current any hearth hazard. “There isn’t any safety concern. It’s a actually protected system. There isn’t any danger of thermal runaway, which is the principle concern with lithium-ion. Our battery operates over a really vast temperature vary – what I name a “good” – mentioned Heinemann.
Particularly, EnerVenue’s battery has been confirmed to work reliably in ambient temperatures of -40 ° F to + 140 ° F. Because of this whether or not in arctic or desert situations, it doesn’t require large-scale heating and air con methods, which might be costly and require plenty of upkeep.
Value has been the principle purpose why metal-hydrogen chemistry has not been extra totally developed to be used on Earth. The batteries utilized in area have been very costly, costing as much as $ 20,000 / kWh, in line with Heinemann. Nevertheless, about two years in the past, EnerVenue founder Yi Cui, a professor at Stanford College who ran a analysis lab targeted on materials improvements for sustainability, got here up with a brand new set of supplies to switch. costly objects.
“It makes use of supplies which can be ample on Earth – nothing however – there may be nothing uncommon or problematic. There isn’t any lithium, no cobalt, no platinum group metals. It is simply ample stuff on Earth that you could find on nearly each continent, ”mentioned Heinemann. Which suggests the associated fee has come down significantly, and the kicker is that it really works even higher.
“We consider we will match the associated fee trajectory of lithium-ion batteries, which is able to proceed to say no over time on account of scale results,” he mentioned. “We are able to match their CAPEX [capital expenditure expense], after which we will supply the client a considerably higher worth proposition when it comes to battery capacities, particularly the excessive temperature vary, sturdiness, flexibility, and really vital financial financial savings on account of the truth that it doesn’t There aren’t any upkeep prices related to this battery. Primarily, it is a battery to put in and overlook. “
Steel-hydrogen batteries will not be significantly appropriate for cell functions, comparable to electrical automobiles or cell telephones, so for now, EnerVenue’s goal market is the large-scale vitality storage business. “Our battery is absolutely good for a really big selection of stationary makes use of,” he mentioned.
To be taught extra about EnerVenue and its battery expertise, take heed to Heinemann’s full interview on The POWER podcast. Comply with the hyperlinks beneath to subscribe by means of your most popular platform or click on on the SoundCloud participant to hear now:
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–Aaron Larson is the editor-in-chief of POWER (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).