DOE: New battery design could help renewables power the grid



Researchers from the DOE's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a low-cost, long-life "flow” battery that could enable solar and wind energy to become major suppliers to the electric grid.


Flow batteries can help smooth power fluctuations on the grid created by wind and solar.


According to a DOE announcement, the new flow battery uses a simplified, less-expensive design than other batteries, which it says may improve its scalability and cost-effectiveness. In laboratory tests, DOE says it demonstrated excellent energy-storage performance through the equivalent of more than 5 ½ years of daily charge and discharge cycles.  The result was reported in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.


The research is led by Yi Cui, a Stanford associate professor and member of the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences, which is a product of the new Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub.


"This important early result from JCESR points to the value of mobilizing top researchers in a concerted effort to tackle major energy challenges,” said Patricia M. Dehmer, Acting Director of DOE’s Office of Science, which supports JCESR.  "It also shows the potential for significant progress in batteries and energy storage through transformative scientific research.”


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