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Researchers Refigured An Old Type Of Battery To Power The Energy Of The Future

By Aimee Lutkin

The use of wind and solar energy to generate power is spreading, but certain aspects of the technology lag behind other components. One of the biggest challenges for scientists developing clean energy is the storage capacity for industrial-size batteries. It seems like researchers at MIT may have finally cracked the code by returning to an old style of battery with an eco-friendly upgrade.

The MIT News Journal reported that the secret is a reconfiguration of the very first battery design from 50 years ago. First posited in 1968, this battery was made from liquid sodium and nickel chloride. These components were separated by a thin membrane of ceramic. The use of this battery style never really caught on. In the real world, ceramic is too fragile for practical use. There are a few specialized industrial places where it is used, but it's extremely rare.

Researchers Donald Sadoway, Huayi Yin and Brice Chung decided to use this basic design, but replace the ceramic with a new type of metal mesh membrane. In theory, this design could be scaled up for use on wind and solar farms. The battery's capacity to hold power is considerably stronger than what's on the market now.