Most batteries used for power storage of grid-sized power (many MW) use complex chemistries. Would it not make more sense to use the least expensive materials? After all, for storing excess wind power, such batteries need not be light, small, or have a high energy density. Aquion Energy has developed the idea into a battery they say has an excellent calendar and cycle life, high efficiency, no thermal management or battery management system (BMS) requirements, which results in lower system costs. Furthermore, they say, it uses an inherently safe chemistry that is non-flammable and non-explosive, and has no dangerous failure modes.
The company goes on and says the design also boasts a wide temperature operating range with 100% DoD cycling with minimal degradation, it’s self-balancing with minimal self-discharge and no trickle charge required. It also has a high tolerance to long stands at partial charge and requires no regular maintenance.
Because the materials that comprise the battery are sustainable, there is no hazardous or toxic materials, and its recyclable and landfill safe. The company says its AHI technology is designed for stationary, long-duration, daily cycling applications. When applied for grid services, the battery allows load shifting, frequency regulation, and renewable integration.
The company says it uses dirt for the cathode, cotton for a separator, and carbon as an anode, and saltwater as the electrolyte to make this aqueous hybrid ion battery. Bill Gates is continuing to fund next-generation battery startups. The company says it is working on raising another round of $35 million, with a first close on that round from Bill Gates, as well Bright Capital, Gentry Venture Partners, and existing investors Kleiner Perkins and Foundation Capital.
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