If you follow along with #solar technology at all you have probably noticed a huge shift in focus on solar #energy. The focus is not just on the solar panels any more as they have increased greatly in efficiency and come down in price. Now they are efficient and affordable enough that just about any homeowner can afford to purchase these solar power generating systems, lease them or get a loan for them. The problem now is the people that install these solar power generating systems are still electrical grid dependent because solar power is not available 24/7.
That has caused a large amount of the focus on solar technology to shift toward solar generated electric storage. More specifically the focus has been shifted to solar batteries where this energy can be stored to cover gaps when the sun is not shining. Theoretically the right solar battery is the very thing that is needed to make a person’s home solar power generating system 100% independent from the regular electric grid.
Like solar panels were when they first started being produced, solar storage batteries have seen big advances in efficiency and cost reductions. Despite that they still remain fairly cost prohibitive to most middle class solar technology users. A recent discovery by a team of researchers from Stanford University has them optimistic about being able to manufacture a ‘water-based’ solar battery that has great storage capacity and can be bought for a reasonable price.
More about This Low Cost, Water-Based Solar Battery Alternative
Even though today’s available solar storage batteries show promise for holding more stored energy for longer periods of time, experts still don’t see them as a cost effective long term solution for stored solar energy needs. This list includes lithium-ion, redox-flow, lead–acid and liquid-metal batteries. That’s why research teams such as the one at Stanford University have been looking for alternative solar stored energy solutions that are affordable and will hold up well for a long time.
What did the Stanford research team come up with? It’s a prototype water-based battery that uses a manganese–hydrogen element to store electricity. The first of this battery’s type is only 3” in height and can store only enough electricity for 20 milliwatt hours. That’s only enough energy to power a small keychain style lightbulb. Yet there is big promise in this little package.
Researchers at Stanford are quite confident that this can be scaled up into an industrial grade battery that will store a very large amount of solar generated power. Not only that, but they thing a water-based manganese–hydrogen battery will be able to be recharged up to ten thousand times. That translates into a solar storage battery that should last well past a decade.
The nice thing about this type of battery is that it can be mass produced rather cheaply. All the materials needed to construct them are readily available at a low cost. That is exactly what the goal was for this research team. It definitely has great potential to take solar power battery storage to a whole new level despite its current limitations.
One of the nicer things about this type of battery is that it can also be used to store electricity produced by other renewable energy means, too. This is especially true of wind generated electrical power.
The Future Looks Bright for Solar Energy Battery Storage
With oil prices once again on the rise solar energy should again be brought to the forefront as to one of the key ways to lessen dependence on fossil fuels. A breakthrough like this manganese–hydrogen water-based battery certainly will help with that. It can provide the gateway to 100% solar based home electric power that so many were hoping would be possible in the not too distant future.
So this type of news has to have solar energy fans, solar energy users and solar product manufacturers very excited about the future of being able to cost effectively store solar generated energy for long periods of time until its needed. It is certainly something worth keeping a close eye on as this solar battery technology continues to be developed.