To further research on energy storage and batteries, scientists at Berkeley Lab tested a theory from a German language academic journal dated 1928. The result? A new, higher-performing, environmentally cleaner, and affordable storage battery may soon be on the market.
A storage battery, or rechargeable battery, is a type of electrical battery which can be charged, discharged to power homes and businesses, and recharged many times. Storage batteries are crucial for energy storage. Solbid has previously discussed energy storage and its critical role in the future of solar power. Different combinations of electrode materials and electrolytes are used; the most popular storage batteries are lead-acid and lithium-ion. However, this new research goes beyond our previous understanding of electrode materials.
California-based technology company Natron Energy (formerly Alveo Energy) led the research, which is published in the journal Nature Communications. Alongside contributions from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and New York University, the report focuses on an unconventional design for electrodes in a sodium-ion battery. This unconventional design may lead to a battery that is more powerful, resilient, economically affordable and environmentally sustainable. An improved battery would mean increasing development of renewable energy technologies, such as solar, and increasing abilities for electric vehicles (EVs).
A German EV with storage batteries
How might this new battery work? Well, the original German article theorized a novel state of the element manganese, which scientists previously had not understood. This state, called “manganese 1-plus”, allows the sodium-ion battery to retain 95% of its initial capacity after 1,000 charge cycles. In combination with a stronger discharge, this new battery could blow lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries off the grid. In addition, this new discovery could alter scientists’ ways of thinking about atypical chemical states, leading to further innovation.
Berkley Lab has a program specifically for furthering research on storage batteries and energy storage. The Berkley Energy Storage and Conversion for Transportation and Renewables (BESTAR) works to overcome technological barriers to storage batteries and fuel cells for EVs and grid storage. With this re-discovery of the manganese 1-plus electrode, the sixty scientists that make up the team will likely be busy in coming months.
Solbid is looking forward to covering the rapidly evolving renewable grid infrastructure. The future of solar is bright!