Using renewable energy is great. But there is something even better - storing it in "green" batteries...
We have been using batteries for two centuries. Of course they have not always looked like they do now, but they have always used heavy metals, such as lithium, mercury, lead, or carbon. Substances whose toxicity is increased given that we know the majority of used batteries still end up in the environment or in our household waste.
Aware of the urgent need for change, Aquion Energy has demonstrated boundless inventiveness in designing the Aquion Battery - or the future of the electric battery.
A miracle recipe
The essentials - salt and water – are hidden in the strange name of Aquion, a contraction of "aqueous ion”. While the salt (in the form of sodium) replaces the traditional lithium, the water is used as the base for the electrolyte solution. The energy comes from the sun and the wind. The revolutionary system behind AHI (Aqueous Hybrid Ion), the start-up’s patented technology, has resulted in stacked cell modules in a variety of sizes depending on their use (charging devices, power supply in buildings, etc.).
With storage systems that can reach up to about 1000 volts, Professor Jay Withacre, the founder of Aquion Energy, aimed to solve two problems: the growing demand for energy worldwide, and the lack of use of renewables related to the complexity of their uptake and storage. And all with an innovation in which, he says humorously, "the components are edible," even if they "taste awful."
Some major advantages
In addition to protecting the environment, the Aquion Battery has some very practical qualities. Did you know it takes fifty times more energy to produce an alkaline battery than it provides? In particular because of the processes conventional materials undergo at an industrial level: extraction, transportation, purification, transformation... With salt, a natural and abundant resource, the manufacturing process is significantly easier, and costs are less. Which also leads to a more accessible purchase price and less radical post-use processing.
Another advantage, and by no means the least, is that Aquion quite simply lasts twice as long as a standard battery. And unlike standard ones, it does not overheat during use.
Withacre would eventually like his invention to equip the whole world - including the most isolated populations that currently do not have the benefit of a power grid worthy of the name. A prospect that had no difficulty in attracting such well known investors as Bill Gates, who by the way says that, "all the [conventional] batteries in the world can only store 10 minutes of the world’s electricity needs."
Or how to make the most of nature by using it.
For more information:
- Aquion Energy website
Main picture: ©Aquion Energy