Researchers at the University of Kansas are working to develop an advanced industrial scale battery design, it would be roughly the size of a semi-truck, which can store the electricity well like solar farms and supply later.
Funded by National Science Foundation and Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy. Trung Van Nguyen, professor of petroleum & chemical engineering at the University of Kansas heading the project has worked with researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Vanderbilt University, the University of Texas at Arlington and Case Western Reserve University.
Generally, people used paper-carbon electrodes and had to stack electrodes together to generate high-power output but it made them expensive as multiple layers had to be used and they were a lot thicker. They were very bulky and resistive. To increase the efficiency the electrode needs to have maximum surface area, Nguyen worked on it by growing carbon nanotubes directly on the carbon fibers of a porous electrode like tiny hairs. This technique helped to boost the surface area by 50-70 times.
A problem that still remains is need of a durable catalyst. Nguyen said the new hydrogen-bromine battery can soon be commercialized. The capacities will be in MW scales, and the size will be about a small modular container. The main application for these batteries would be remote industrial sites where huge batteries would be buried underground.
The boom in the solar and wind energy can face impedance because of the lack of storage solutions. Initial investments in the solutions you don’t have to pay for the fossil fuels through out the operational life but the electricity becomes free in case of renewables.