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A freeze-thaw molten salt battery for seasonal storage

Researchers create a battery for the electric grid that locks in energy for months without losing much storage capacity.

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New research paper from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Abstract

“Grid-level storage of seasonal excess can be an important asset to renewable electricity. By applying the freeze-thaw thermal cycling strategy, here, we report Al-Ni molten salt batteries with effective capacity recovery over 90% after a period of 1–8 weeks as a proof-of-concept. We explore three activation methods of the nickel cathode in a molten-salt battery: (1) heat treating the cathode granules under H2/N2, (2) incorporating a partially charged NiCl2/Ni cathode, and (3) doping the molten salt electrolyte with sulfur. In particular, sulfur doping, a cost-efficient method suitable for large-scale applications, is not only effective in activating the Ni cathode initially but also invaluable for energy retention during thermal cycling. Overall, these Al-Ni molten salt batteries under thermal cycling show high retention in cell capacity over weeks, setting a direction for scalable seasonal storage.”

Find the open access technical paper here. Published March 2022. Find Pacific Northwest National Lab’s article here.

Minyuan M. Li, Xiaowen Zhan, Evgueni Polikarpov, Nathan L. Canfield, Mark H. Engelhard, J. Mark Weller, David M. Reed, Vincent L. Sprenkle, Guosheng Li,A freeze-thaw molten salt battery for seasonal storage,Cell Reports Physical Science, 2022, 100821, ISSN 2666-3864,

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