Assembly Line

Super-hot salt could be coming to a battery near you

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✍️ Author: Casey Crownhart

🏢 Organizations: Ambri

Over decades of development and scaling, lithium-ion batteries have gotten cheaper, and production capacity has exploded, with new battery Gigafactories popping up all around the world seemingly every other week.

But there are a few mismatches between lithium-ion’s strengths and what’s needed in batteries used for stationary energy storage.

  • Price: Grid-scale storage needs to be dirt-cheap to help renewables be affordable. Last year, the US Department of Energy set a goal of reducing costs by 90% by 2030. Lithium-ion batteries have gotten cheaper over the years, but gains may be plateauing, especially with possible material shortages expected.
  • Size: Lithium-ion batteries pack a lot of power into a small space. But while battery size is important for things like phones and cars, it’s not so crucial for grid-scale energy storage. Compromising on energy density for stationary applications could mean lower cost.
  • Lifetime: Industrial plants often put in equipment that, when maintained, lasts for decades. Lithium-ion batteries typically need to be replaced every 5-10 years, which can be pricey.

Read more at MIT Technology Review