But now a team of researchers from MIT has developed a new all-liquid battery system that extends the life of such devices while also costing less to make, a development they say could make wind and solar energy more competitive with traditional sources of power.
Donald Sadoway, a professor of Materials Chemistry at MIT, has been exploring the potential of electrical-grid-scale liquid batteries for some time. These batteries comprise layers of molten material, the varying densities of which cause the layers to separate naturally, much like oil and water.
With magnesium used for one electrode, antimony for another and molten salt serving as the electrolyte, these systems needs to be heated to 700° C (1,292° F) to operate. But the researchers found that exchanging some of the materials, using one electrode made from lithium and another from a combination of lead and antimony, reduces the operating temperature to 450-500° C (842-932° F).