Researchers at Harvard have developed a new flow battery (a battery that stores energy in liquid solutions) made of non-toxic and non-corrosive elements that could last for over 10 years.
"Currently Lithium ion batteries don't even survive 1000 complete charge/discharge cycles. But because we were able to dissolve the electrolytes in neutral water, this is a long-lasting battery," said one of the researchers behind the feat.
Apart from being nature friendly and long lasting, the technique used for developing the battery also promises to significantly decrease the cost of production.
The team says the key to designing the latest battery was to first figure out why previous molecules were degrading. So they modified the molecules in the electrolytes so that they remain stable, water-soluble and resistant to degradation. This way even if they are dissolved in neutral water, they will lose only 1% of its capacity every 1,000 cycles and it would be several years before any considerable drop in performance is noticed.
Although the team at Harvard has already started working with several companies to scale up this technology for now the method is only limited to lab test stage and will take time until an industrial solution can be reached to mass produce such batteries. The concept of flow batteries is being promoted by scientists off late as it has the advantages of flexible layout, long cycle life, quick response times and no harmful emissions.