Water-Based Battery Outperforms Lithium Ion

Aug. 19, 2014

A new battery has been developed that is free of toxic materials and longer lasting than its more expensive competitors.

One of the biggest hurdles to improving the usefulness of renewable energy such as solar and wind power may soon be in the past. Researchers at USC have developed a water-based battery that uses no toxic materials and is capable of holding large amounts of energy while costing 10 times less than comparable lithium ion batteries. As opposed to the current generation of batteries that need to be replaced frequently, the organic design lasts up to five years longer than its predecessors. 

One of the major advantages to the design is the customization options. Because the battery requires no specialized materials, the design can be made larger to accomodate a wider variety of energy uses. Additionally, the central cell of the battery can be adjusted to allow different amounts of power to flow at different times.

Combined with the organic construction and more energy storage potential, the researchers hope that the lower cost and longer life of their water-based battery will allow the power from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind to be stored in larger amounts for longer periods of time, which could enable a bigger percentage of the electricity grid to be backed up with renewable energy sources. 

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