It’s not the newest news, being about two weeks old, but it’s fascinating.
Scientific Blogging reports on the St. Andrews Air (STAIR) Battery, which has the potential to smooth out the delivery of electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar, removing the peaks and valleys that happen when the wind dies or the sun sets. Read the report here.
The battery uses oxygen from the air to help it do its work, giving it a smaller footprint than other batteries, which are completely self-contained. There’s a neat diagram at the link.
An excerpt is below the fold.
Improved capacity is thanks to the addition of a component that uses oxygen drawn from the air during discharge, replacing one chemical constituent used in rechargeable batteries today. Not having to carry the chemicals around in the battery offers more energy for the same size battery. Reducing the size and weight of batteries with the necessary charge capacity has been a long-running battle for developers of electric cars.
Principal investigator on the project, Professor Peter Bruce of the Chemistry Department at the University of St Andrews, says: “Our target is to get a five to ten fold increase in storage capacity, which is beyond the horizon of current lithium batteries. Our results so far are very encouraging and have far exceeded our expectations.”