The development of sustainable saltwater batteries enters the next level.
The American company Aquion Energy has received $ 33 million extra finance.
Previously, Bill Gates invested in Aquion Energy.
Aquion developed batteries that can store solar and wind energy to serve as backup for times when there is no wind nor sun. Saltwater batteries are not new, but the batteries from Aquion are special because they are using salt water as a conductor, instead of acids or bases.
Aquion has come up with a clever twist on a 200 year old salt water battery technology using:
- Activated carbon (anode)
- Manganese oxide (cathode)
- And basically a salt water electrolyte
They have come up with a breakthrough solution. It is environmentally friendly, cost effective and has a life cycle way beyond any other battery: up to 5,000 cycles
So what’s Aquion’s energy storage innovation?
The startup — which was backed by Bill Gates and VCs like Kleiner Perkins and Foundation Capital — is making a low cost, modular grid battery made from basic materials like sodium and water.
The battery pairs a carbon anode with a sodium-based cathode, and a water-based electrolyte shuttles ions between the two electrodes during charging and discharging.
The technology was developed out of Carnegie Mellon University by founder and chief technology officer Jay Whitacre.
By using basic materials, Aquion is hoping its product is inexpensive enough to disrupt the current grid battery market.
Aquion’s CEO Scott Pearson:
“When the battery has been manufactured at a commercial scale for awhile, the price point of the battery could be $300 per kilowatt hour. That’s about a third of the cost of some of the more expensive lithium ion battery grid products.”
- Saltwater batteries are tolerant to wide temperature ranges, partial state of charge cycling, and daily deep cycling with minimal degradation.
- In addition to the safety and sustainability advantages of using water as electrolyte, another advantage is the thermal mass of the embodied water means that Aquion products neither heat nor cool rapidly. As such, the products can operate in a very wide operating temperature window because they simply take so long to heat and to cool.
- The saltwater battery chemistry relies on charge/discharge mechanisms which are unaffected by partial state of charge – these batteries can sit indefinitely at partial, or even no state of charge, without irreversible capacity loss like lead acid batteries.
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Latest news: 24-volt version Hybrid Ion battery
In June 2016, Aquion Energy has introduced the Aspen 24S, a 24-volt version of its award-winning Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) battery.
The new product is designed for energy-intensive applications that use solar panels, such as off-grid solar-powered LED lighting, as well as small pumps and motors. It is also an ideal drop-in replacement for existing systems using 24-volt lead-acid batteries.
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