A US battery expert says Australia could become a
manufacturing hub for a new type of batteries which can be used to store power
from renewable energy sources.
SMH reports that Professor Donald Sadoway, a materials
chemistry expert from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, is the
co-inventor of the liquid metal battery which is a low-cost, long-life cell which
can be used as an alternative to solid state lithium-ion batteries.
Sadoway visited Canberra yesterday in an effort to establish
a research partnership. Negotiations are taking place with the Australian National University.
He is also seeking to create a $50 million pilot manufacturing plant for the liquid metal batteries.
According to RenewEconomy, Sadoway believes that the
batteries should be made in the same place they are used. Australia is well
suited to the new technology because of its renewable resources, its large mass,
and its expensive electricity grid.
“There is a growing need for sustainable sources of
electricity and storage is the missing piece,” Sadoway told RenewEconomy.
The batteries are capable of storing power at a fraction of
the cost of currently available technology. They have a working life of 300
years and they retain over 99 per cent of initial storage capacity after 10
years of continuous use.
Sadoway’s company Ambri will introduce its first commercial
batteries in the US late this year or early next year.