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Water Battery: What’s Special About It

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Published: 14:23, 5 March 2024

Water Battery: What’s Special About It

Photo: Collected 

Lithium-ion batteries have been ruling the world for storing electricity since they were invented. From simple charger lights to giant electric cars, most modern devices use lithium-ion batteries as their powerhouse. However, they have gone a little off-fame for their explosive nature and safety concerns for large-scale grid energy. To overcome the risk, a multinational team of scientists, researchers, and industry collaborators have come up with the world’s first water batteries. These batteries are claimed to be less toxic, recyclable, and incombustible.

What is a Water Battery?

The concept of a water battery is not avant-garde. However, experts have been trying to make an ideal version of such a battery to use in the industrial field for a long time and finally succeeded. A traditional battery uses organic electrolytes as a conveyor of electricity between negative and positive edges. Interestingly, in a water battery, pure and plain water serves as the electrolyte.

It took a fair deal of effort to make a water-based battery an acceptable, stable, and modern technology that is usable all across the digital industry. In the manufacturer's terms, these batteries will be termed as aqueous metal-ion batteries.

Invention of Water Batteries

A team led by RMIT University and headed by Distinguished Professor Tianyi Ma developed recyclable 'water batteries.' These batteries are safer than lithium-ion ones, as they don't catch fire or explode. They utilize water instead of volatile materials. The team's breakthroughs in aqueous energy storage devices significantly enhance performance and lifespan. Their manufacturing simplicity allows mass production, utilizing abundant, inexpensive materials like magnesium and zinc.

Unlike traditional batteries, water batteries use water as an electrolyte, replacing hazardous substances. They work similarly to lithium-ion batteries but without the associated risks. Additionally, managing water levels in these batteries is crucial for longevity and requires periodic replenishment to maintain efficiency. This innovation offers a safer, more environmentally friendly energy storage solution for various applications.

How Water Batteries Can Change the Current Scenario

Grid overload capacity

Water batteries are great because they can support when the power grid gets too much electricity. Sometimes, sources like wind and solar make more power than we need. In such situations, water batteries can work safely. The water battery has a top pool that stores extra power. This helps make sure everything runs smoothly, even during hot weather. The water then goes down and turns a turbine to create energy for things like your fridge and other electronics.

Supportive to clean energy

Water batteries have the potential to become more popular in future because it opens a new door to create clean energy from nature.

We have everything we need from nature, like water and sunlight, to make electricity. It's up to us to use these resources wisely. Water batteries are really important for filling in gaps in our energy needs. They give us steady and dependable energy all day, making things much easier for us.

More efficient energy storage

Pumped storage hydropower projects play a crucial role in long-term energy storage. They act as invisible but powerful forces that are shaping our world. Water batteries have an impressive capacity for storing energy. They can hold up to 553 gigawatt-hours, which is equivalent to powering nationwide video gaming for a whole week. Clearly, water batteries are making a significant impact and changing the game in energy storage.

Large storage for electricity

Water batteries are not only excellent for storing large amounts of energy, but they're also incredibly efficient. They can retain up to 80% of the energy they store, making them one of the most reliable options for large-scale energy storage. Ideally, water batteries fulfil this need, providing an efficient storage solution that can be relied upon. They essentially act as reservoirs, ready to release bursts of energy whenever necessary, making them highly dependable.

Blackout management

During blackouts, water batteries play a vital role in reviving the grid. They enable the restoration of electricity to homes and businesses, serving as a reliable backup. Whether it's a wildfire, heatwave, or ice storm, the electric grid can rely on water batteries to keep things running smoothly. These batteries ensure that the grid can quickly recover, even in emergencies. They activate swiftly and contribute to ensuring safety during challenging times.

Utilities during a natural disaster

Even with all the pre-arrangements, natural disasters can still strike. But thankfully, water batteries are up to the challenge. They provide not only power but also offer benefits like irrigation and flood control. During times of excess water, water batteries can absorb it, keeping your home powered and safe from flooding. They even play a role in fighting wildfires and preventing severe damage to the grid. The water stored in these batteries can be used for crops, ensuring they stay healthy and hydrated even during difficult times. So, water batteries are versatile and essential in facing the challenges posed by natural disasters.

Simple scaling

One of the unique aspects of water batteries is that they don't need new construction, which saves a lot of money and resources. You can enhance their abilities easily, making them dependable for powering large areas. By upgrading facilities and increasing capacity, you can achieve the results you require without much hassle. These upgrades allow facilities to boost electricity production capacity effortlessly, meaning they can reliably meet greater demand.

Conclusion

The development of water batteries represents a significant milestone in the field of energy storage technology. These batteries offer a safer, more sustainable alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries. With their use of water as an electrolyte and recyclable materials, they mitigate safety concerns and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Furthermore, water batteries provide efficient and reliable energy storage solutions, supporting grid stability, clean energy adoption, and disaster resilience. Their scalability and simplicity of implementation make them a promising option for meeting the growing energy demands of the future while minimising environmental impact.

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