New battery technology brings better storage for renewable energy

Berkeley scientists develop new battery technology to help make renewable energy storage solutions more cost-effective

Researchers at Berkeley have developed a new battery membrane that can help bring down the production cost of storage batteries for renewable energy, reports Engadget.

Renewable energy sources are key to us moving away from fossil fuels and protecting our environment, but there’s a catch when attempting such green solutions at scale. How do we store this energy as part of the electrical grid so it’s available for use?

Most renewable energy researchers are focusing on a type of battery called a flow battery for storing energy, in which electricity is stored in a tank of liquid electrolyte. However, making this technology cost-effective on the scale required for the power grid has proven challenging.

Traditional fuel cells use a fluorinated membrane, which is expensive and not ideal for a flow battery. The researchers have created a new type of membrane specifically for flow batteries made from polymers called AquaPIMs, or aqueous-compatible polymers of intrinsic microporosity.

This paves the way for cheaper and more reliable flow batteries for the electric grid, which could eventually power homes across the country with renewable energy from wind and solar.

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