Innovation That Matters

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Storing energy using only salt and water

Agriculture & Energy

The easily scaled process requires no toxins, making it safe for use near homes

Spotted: The ability to store renewably produced energy in ways that provide reliable, affordable power is a main tenet of a future decarbonised grid. Right now, experts expect there to be a shortfall in storage capacity, with EU nations needing around 600 gigawatts of storage by 2050 and likely to only have 140 to 290 gigawatts of long-duration energy storage (LDES) in place by 2040.  

One way that gap could be bridged is with climate technology company Aquabattery’s simple, safe, saltwater flow renewable energy battery. Focused on improving storage design with reduced carbon emissions and a more circular economy, Aquabattery provides LDES in the form of chemical energy generated by running power through a saltwater mix and a stack of electrodes. The resultant stable solutions of acid and base are stored in separate reservoirs. 

When energy is needed, the solutions move in the opposite direction through the electrode stack, recombining to form saltwater and releasing electricity. With no toxins or flammable materials involved in the process, the batteries are safe for local community use as well as on-site for industrial and commercial organisations.  

Regions such as islands that are particularly vulnerable to variations in power supply and dependent on imports can scale the Aquabattery system to be as large or small as needed. The microgrids provide sustainable power autonomy and resilience for communities that use a variety of renewable energy sources.  

What’s more, Aquabattery’s local production system helps reduce carbon emissions by shortening transport routes and using nearby water sources. The process also works for 20 years without mechanical degradation, and, having run several successful pilot sites, the company plans to install its first large-scale storage unit by 2025. Last month, Aquabattery was granted financing from the National Growth Fund, which will be used to help further accelerate product development.

Other examples of energy storage solutions from Springwise’s archive include recycled lithium-ion batteries and a nanomaterial filled with high-density hydrogen.

Written By: Keely Khoury




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