Energy and Climate
Energy and ClimateECEnergyNew Liquid Salt Electrolytes Could Lead to Cost-Effective Flow Batteries

New Liquid Salt Electrolytes Could Lead to Cost-Effective Flow Batteries

Chemical technologist Harry Pratt synthesizes a copper-based ionic liquid. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Sandia researchers have developed a new family of liquid salt electrolytes, known as metal-based ionic liquids (MetILs), that could lead to batteries able to cost-effectively store three times more energy than today’s batteries. The research, published in Dalton Transactions, might lead to devices that can help economically and reliably incorporate large-scale intermittent renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, into the nation’s electric grid.

The grid was designed for steady power sources, making fluctuating electricity from intermittent renewable energy difficult to accommodate. Better energy storage techniques help even out the flow of such fluctuating sources, and Sandia researchers are studying new ways to develop a more flexible, cost-effective, and reliable electric grid with improved energy storage.

Sandia researchers have discovered a new family of liquid salt electrolytes that could lead to batteries with three times greater energy density. The MetILs are, from left to right: copper-based compound, cobalt-based compound, manganese-based compound, iron-based compound, nickel-based compound, and vanadium-based compound. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

“The U.S. and the world need significant breakthroughs in battery technology for renewable energy sources to replace today’s carbon-based energy systems,” said Anthony Medina, director of Sandia’s Energetic Components Realization program. “MetILs are a new, promising battery chemistry that might provide the next generation of stationary storage battery technology, replacing lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries and providing significantly higher energy storage density for these applications.”

This story has been picked up by multiple media outlets across the country.

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Sandia news media contact: Stephanie Hobby, (505) 844-0948.

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