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2014-04-24. Nanoparticle Networks Promise Cheaper Batteries for Storing Renewable Energy.

posted Apr 25, 2014, 1:45 PM by Angela Miller
For GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: Liquids containing a flowing network of nanoscale particles could make batteries cheaper to manufacture, and thereby reduce the cost of using large amounts of solar and wind power. ...With some alternatives, it is difficult to get charge in and out of the materials; electricity is extracted only from the part of the materials that comes in direct contact with a flat metal plate. The nanoparticle network creates paths for electricity to flow throughout the liquid. This makes it possible, for example, to get from five to six times more energy out of an experimental type flow battery made of lithium and sulfur.  Nanoparticles have long been used in conventional batteries with solid electrodes, but what distinguishes the new development is having a nanoparticle network form in a liquid, and maintain electrical connections even as that liquid flows. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for batteries to be economical, they need to cost less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, and need to last a decade or more. Such batteries cost hundreds of dollars per kilowatt-hour now. Chiang says it could be possible to build batteries that cost less than $100 per kilowatt-hour with the nanoparticle networks, but the researchers haven’t yet demonstrated that they can be recharged enough times to last a decade. http://www.technologyreview.com/news/526811/nanoparticle-networks-promise-cheaper-batteries-for-storing-renewable-energy/. By Kevin Bullis, MIT Technology Review.