‘Liquid’ battery developed by team of scientists at Harvard University


Lithium-ion batteries could potentially be replaced by flow batteries in the future, which should last for at least a decade, following research from a team at Harvard University.

A flow battery is essentially a battery which stores energy in liquid solutions. The scientists managed to develop the long-lasting flow battery by modifying the structure of molecules in the electrolytes, making them water-soluble, resistant to degradation and stable.

As a result of their modifications, the team managed to engineer a battery that only loses 1 per cent of its capacity per 1,000 cycles.

The team was led by Michael Aziz, who said: “Lithium-ion batteries don’t even survive 1,000 complete charge/discharge cycles.

“Because we were able to dissolve the electrolytes in neutral water, this is a long-lasting battery that you could put in your basement. If it spilled on the floor, it wouldn’t eat the concrete, and since the medium is non-corrosive, you can use cheaper materials to build the components of the batteries, like the tanks and pumps.”

The new creation could provide us with non-corrosive, non-toxic batteries which are cheaper to produce than today’s batteries, as well as having a substantially longer lifetime of approximately 10 years.

It could also meet the Department of Energy’s target of a battery that can store energy for less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, with Aziz saying: “If you can get anywhere near this cost target then you can change the world.”

Their research was published in the journal ACS Energy Letters.