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Weirdest batteries in the world

  • Last Updated : 18 Jun, 2021
Geek Week

In this article, we will discuss an overview of the weirdest Batteries in the world. And will also discuss some types of batteries and will discuss in detail. Let’s discuss it one by one.

Overview :

  • Electrical supply has to meet demand, but these variables fluctuate considerably throughout the day. Undersupply of electricity would create massive problems such as brownouts or even complete blackouts. A Brownout is a deliberate or unexpected drop in voltage in an electrical force supply framework. Oversupply of electricity leads to energy and leads to energy loss and wasted input costs.
  • Renewable power sources even face a bigger problem since most of these are intermittent, meaning the supply fluctuates to even a higher degree in some cases and, unfortunately, this leads to billions of dollars lost on a global scale.
  • Now, if we want to solve both the renewable and storage problems, we can move to hydropower and even water pump storage. Theoretically, this is the most efficient way to store energy for indefinite durations. However, this doesn’t work for every type of economy, especially for smaller grids or isolated areas with environmental regulations.
  • Typically, outside of hydropower, energy is usually stored in chemical batteries, but these are relatively inefficient due to low energy densities and limited lifecycles. Unfortunately, as of right now, batteries do not have anywhere near the energy densities compared to non-renewable sources such as diesel, gas, and even coal, so there will be a hybrid system for probably many years to come. This has created a lot of alternative storage systems which are pretty unique and some of them are just completely bizarre.

Alternative types :
Some alternative storage systems are as follows.

  1. Cryogenic battery –
    The above discussion leads us to one of the most advanced battery systems, theoretically, which is called the Cryogenic battery. This basically uses a cryogenic cycle and only a few projects are trying to exploit this type of storage with a high view leading to their 250-megawatt hour plant in Carrington, England. This particular plant compresses air and cools it down to -196 °C in a low-pressure vessel where it is stored and then eventually exposed to ambient temperatures to cause rapid reclassification and a 700-times fold expansion, thus driving the turbine and generating power. It can hold the compressed air for weeks, potentially months. This type of system is far from being 100% efficient and there is quite a debate whether the system is affordable due to the input costs and the infrastructure involved. Nevertheless, it would be fascinating to see if they could sell liquid nitrogen at one of those stations.
     
  2. Gravity Efficient Storage –
    It is also called a Gravity Battery. This would typically use some type of motor generator that inches the weight to a certain height with power input. Once the grid needs power, brakes are released and the weight drops, thus transferring power to the generator and the grid. Now, Gravitricity is one of these companies which is demonstrating this type of storage with their two 27 ton weight tower. The rig is 50ft high and is capable of producing 250 kilowatts. They plan to build a 20-megawatt unit and this will have a high degree of output power and duration. This would be able to generate full power for two and a half hours or 5 megawatts over 5 hours. Theoretically, this would be able to last for years and there would be variability in power output considering the heavy reinforcement involved with these types of buildings along with power inefficiencies due to inertia change. 
     
  3. Flywheel Energy Storage –
    This mechanical battery has been around for some time, and it simply utilizes a flywheel to maintain rotational energy in a system. The motor spins up the flywheel when energy is being supplied and then slows down and discharges to supply power to the grid. Cutting edge systems are made out of composites and can spin up to 50,000 rpm in a vacuum. The latest flywheels are also magnetically levitated, so they can last for a very long time. There is a limitation to flywheel size and the rpm that you can spin up to, so we would probably need multiple flywheels to generate megawatts of power. Many satellites actually use flywheel systems for both positioning and energy storage. This type of system would also be very useful for off-world applications where input solar energy is intermittent. Ultimately, they are one of the best storage systems, but higher efficiency designs are expensive, and they are not really practical for everyday applications.
     
  4. Flow Battery –
    This framework is a sort of electrochemical cell where energy is generated by two chemical parts disintegrated in liquids. These liquids are pumped into a central membrane which provides ion exchange. These types of batteries have excellent longevity, but they provide considerably less power when compared to conventional batteries. Lockheed Martin has built their own version of flow battery, and it’s basically a 25-megawatt hour system that can discharge at full nominal power for up to 5 hours. It might be suitable for smaller applications, but it’s not going to meet high energy demands.

Conclusion :
So there are tons of new battery designs coming out. We always have to be skeptical of new and bold claims. It’s highly probable we would not immediately see anything revolutionary with battery energy densities. However, the future is very unpredictable, and it’s going to be fascinating to see how far batteries actually advance in the next 10 years.

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