Most lithium-ion batteries are ready for silicon heaven after a few years. But Harvard researchers’ solution involves something called a flow battery.
It stores energy in liquid solutions which can last for over a decade by modifying the molecules in the electrolytes, ferrocene and viologen, so that they’re stable, water-soluble and resistant to degradation. When dissolved in water, the resulting solution only loses a percent of its capacity every 1,000 cycles. It could be several years before you even notice a slight drop off in performance.
It is also not corrosive or toxic, you don’t have to worry about wrecking your home if the battery leaks. The safer materials are also less expensive than the polymers you usually need in flow batteries, and don’t require exotic pumps and tanks to withstand harsher chemicals.
It could be exactly what the renewable energy market is screaming for. You could install solar power at home knowing that the cost of energy storage won’t wipe out the money you save on your electricity bill.