Energy has always been a problem for the population of our merry little planet. Fossil fuels have been the dominant form for a long time, but but the method is as old as it is ineffective. We have many ways of harvesting energy from the sun, the wind, the tides and other infinite or renewable energy sources and this is not a new concept. However, since most of these sources are dependent on the conditions, this also makes them unreliable. The only way this problem can solved is by enabling us to store the energy but this was a long and painful (not to mention expensive) process up until this point. However, researchers at MIT have found a new, more effective, cheaper and revolutionary way to harvest, generate and store power into rechargeable flow batteries. The biggest problem with flow batteries up until now was that they were relatively expensive to make because of the membrane used in the process. MIT researchers found an insanely simple solution to the problem though – cut out the membrane altogether. Using the new method they experimented with, they were able to withhold the membrane while improving effectiveness and reducing the cost.

 

The Device

The new prototype promises to revolutionize the way we store energy in the future. Renewable and green sources might one day become the predominant form of power supply on the grid because of the upgraded storing capabilities. Right now, these energy sources simply cannot sustain the grid, especially during the hours of peak demand but this might be a subject to change in the future with the advancement of technology.

The new instrument promises an excellent performance in the field minus the cost of membranes used in older devices and methods. This will certainly be quite an advancement and will enable us meet our energy demand with ease while at the same it will reduce the cost, and the damage we are inevitably doing to the environment.

The Importance

The importance of this invention is huge, not only by today's standards, but by its enormous potential, as well. Something like this can very well solve most of our energy problem and maybe finally break our dysfunctional relationship with fossil fuels. If we manage to break the dependence, this will reveal a brave new world to us all. Of course, the project is still in its early stages so we can't talk about an energy revolution yet, but the potential is there.

The new device will cost less and will also have a longer expected lifespan due to the membrane removal. In a sense, the device is going to do the same thing older devices were able to do, but it will be cheaper to build and will be much more durable.

The Method

The method used to utilize the whole process is very complicated and advanced. The simple version is that there is a channel between two electrodes and liquid bromine and hydrobromic acid go through the channel over the cathode, while at the same time hydrogen is flowed through the anode, at which point the resulting reaction produces electricity in the form of free electrons ready to be discharged at any given time. The process can also be reversed in order to store energy.

Final Thoughts

We live in truly magnificent times where it's finally possible to solve some of the problems humanity is facing every day. I just hope that when we are presented with the opportunity, we will valiantly fight to make the world a better place, instead of passively accepting that things are what we are and no amount of progress can change that.

Connie Jameson is passionate blogger keen on topics about eco technologies. She currently works in the support team of  http://www.perfectcleaning.org.uk/end-of-tenancy-cleaning-hanwell-w7/ and she has a lot of experience to share with her readers.