Traditionally, flow batteries operate through a process involving both positive and negative liquid electrodes held in tanks and separated by a membrane in the middle. Both liquids are cycled through the half-tanks by a series of valves and pumps, which generate energy from the chemical reactions occurring between the liquids.
Though efficient, the pump-flow process is highly intricate, resulting both in high costs and increased risk of failure throughout the system. A research team at MIT has recently developed a new liquid flow battery- that requires no pumps to generate its power. Instead, the new design operates using gravity to feed the water through chambers, which simplifies the whole process.
Compared to previous flow batteries, the gravity-fed design allows for a more compact and less expensive process, improving the overall system. The design of this new battery is similar to an old-school hourglass, allowing it to be tilted to any desired angle to control the rate of liquid flow. After examining the process, the team found a near-horizontal angle is the most efficient for achieving a steady but low flow rate.
Instead of liquid being held in both sides of the tanks, the new design consists of liquid found in only one side of the battery and a solid sheet of lithium on the other. This hybrid is a precursory concept trial before finalising a design with both sides containing the liquid electrodes. However, the hybrid design has the possibility to balance the advantages of all-solid and all-liquid batteries, which can prove useful for specific applications.
Power storage units similar to this liquid battery require precise design specifications and assembly to generate the highest in sustainability and efficiency. Eclipse Automation offers a selection of energy storage options which can be modified by our in-house mechanical, electrical and controls design teams to suit your specific requirements for any application.