Monday, September 25, 2017 at 9:00am
Innovation in Stationary Electric Storage: the Liquid Metal Battery
Massive electricity storage would offer huge benefits to today’s grid, reducing price volatility, improving stability against loss of power, increasing utilization of generation assets by enabling us to design towards average demand instead of peak demand, and deferring the costs of upgrading existing transmission lines. When it comes to tomorrow’s grid, storage is critical to widespread integration of renewables, i.e., solar and wind, which due to their inherent intermittency present challenges for contribution to base load. Comprising two liquid metals and a molten salt electrolyte, the liquid metal battery has been invented to offer colossal current capability and long service lifetime at very low cost, i.e., the price point of the electricity market. The round-trip efficiency of these batteries is greater than 75% with a duty cycle of 4 h discharge (C/4). Fade rates of 0.00009%/cycle have been measured which means retention of >99% of initial capacity after 10 years of daily cycling at full depth of discharge. There is much to be learned from the innovative process that led to the discovery of disruptive battery technology.
Donald R. Sadoway is the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Born in Toronto, he obtained the B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science, the M.A.Sc. in Chemical Metallurgy, and the Ph.D. in Chemical Metallurgy, all from the University of Toronto. After a year of postdoctoral study at MIT as a NATO Fellow, he joined the faculty in 1978. The author of over 150 scientific papers and holder of 18 U.S. patents, his basic research centers on electrochemical processes in molten salts, ionic liquids, and polymers. With a markedly environmental focus his applied research is directed towards environmentally sound technologies for the extraction, refining, and recycling of metals, and the development of rechargeable batteries for grid-level storage. From 1995 to 2005 he held a MacVicar Faculty Fellowship, MIT's highest award for excellence in undergraduate education. In 1999 he became the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry. In 2012 he was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Toronto, D. Eng., honoris causa.