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2018-10-31. New generation of ‘flow batteries’ could eventually sustain a grid powered by the sun and wind.

posted Nov 4, 2018, 7:40 PM by Alan Gould
By Robert F. Service, Science Magazine. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/10/new-generation-flow-batteries-could-eventually-sustain-grid-powered-sun-and-wind] For GSS Energy Use chapters 5 and 9. Excerpt: ...With the rise of wind and solar power, energy companies are looking for ways to keep electrons flowing when the sun doesn't shine and the wind ebbs. Giant devices called flow batteries, using tanks of electrolytes capable of storing enough electricity to power thousands of homes for many hours, could be the answer. But most flow batteries rely on vanadium, a somewhat rare and expensive metal.... Last week, researchers reported overcoming many of these drawbacks with a potentially cheap, long-lived, and safe flow battery. ...flow batteries ...store electrical charge in tanks of liquid electrolyte that is pumped through electrodes to extract the electrons; the spent electrolyte returns to the tank. When a solar panel or turbine provides electrons, the pumps push spent electrolyte back through the electrodes, where the electrolyte is recharged and returned to the holding tank. Scaling up the batteries to store more power simply requires bigger tanks of electrolytes. ...Iron, which is cheap and good at grabbing and giving up electrons, is another promising alternative. ...Another contender uses electrolytes made from metal-containing organic compounds called polyoxometalates, which store far more energy in the same volume than the competition....
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