Stanford: Cheap Battery with Urine
Researchers at Stanford University have developed an inexpensive battery for renewable energy. This is done by making use of urea, a substance which is to be found in fertilizers and urine. Isn’t this great news?
A new low-cost, high-performance battery could provide an inexpensive storage solution for solar power, which is abundant during the day but must be stored for use at night.
Long battery life
Researchers Hongjie Dai and Michael Angell developed a non-flammable battery, made of graphite and aluminum. The electrolyte of the battery has urea as a main ingredient. This substance is already being produced on an industrial scale, as a power supply for plants.
“We have basically created a battery with the cheapest and most abundant substances and materials that are to be found on earth.
Besides that, the battery performs well,” according to Dai in the press release. “Who would have thought that you could make a low-cost and high-performance battery of graphite, aluminum and urea?”
In 2015, Dai’s team succeeded to develop a battery of aluminum. The system loads in less than a minute and is working properly even after thousands of charging and discharging cycles. However, the problem with this battery was a very expensive electrolyte.
The new battery fitted with an electrolyte based on urea, is a hundred times cheaper than the ‘old’ battery.
In the press release, Dai says that the battery may be a good replacement for lithium-ion batteries, which are currently used as an energy storage battery. However, that these batteries are expensive and do have a short lifespan.
“Our dream is that the new battery will store solar energy in every building and every home in future.”
Before that, the life time of the urea battery must be increased. The battery is promising, says Dai. Currently the battery can handle about 1,500 charge cycles.
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