A big battery, for the grid scale
We’re making a big string of grid-scale batteries for a demo here at the Energy Institute. I’m manning the laser cutter today, and Mike’s stacking plastic for me.
This is a promotional video from Energy.gov about the CUNY Energy Institute, where I work. It was shown at the 2012 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington DC (where I just was for about 42 hours, all in the convention center). The video features my boss, the extremely dapper Distinguished Professor Banerjee, and fellow Science Tumblr Dan.
A research grade cadmium-manganese dioxide rechargeable battery we exhibited at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit. Our project is to make advanced, rechargeable zinc-manganese dioxide batteries. The need is for a high-performance battery, like the ones in your laptops and cell phones, except on a very large scale. Large enough for the battery to power houses, buildings, and utilities.
Zinc and manganese dioxide are extremely inexpensive battery materials, which would make these massive batteries feasible. Zinc and manganese dioxide are the same materials in a standard “alkaline” battery, like a AA. The hard part is to get them to recharge many times (say 1000).
This particular battery is cadmium-manganese dioxide because cadmium is a well-understood battery electrode (in Ni-Cd or NiCad batteries). A good way to approach a complicated system like a battery is to separate the zinc and manganese dioxide electrodes and study them paired with well-understood electrodes first.
In salt flats—kind of Bolivia’s equivalent of our own Bonneville Salt Flats.
As the world needs more lithium batteries, Bolivia should get a major economic boost.
We think the world reserve base of lithium is 11M tonnes. Even with recycling, will this be enough to store energy for the whole world? Also, do you want to dig up all of Bolivia?
I should be working out the math on all this.