Rhubarb isn’t just good for baking in pies — turns out the natural molecules found in the plant are being used as the basis for a new type of battery for the power grid, developed by a group of Professors at Harvard.
The Harvard researchers and engineers set out to build a low cost, metal-free flow battery, which is a type of battery that uses separate liquid tanks to store energy. In contrast, the batteries in your laptop and cell phone (and even in an electric car), use chemicals that are adjacent and enclosed in a casing. But by separating the electrolyte out of the battery, flow batteries can easily scale up and down (using larger and smaller tanks) to deliver the capacity needed, and can thus be lower cost than traditional batteries.
Because they can be inexpensive, power grid operators and utilities are looking at flow batteries carefully…
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