• 3 minutes Oil Price Could Fall To $30 If Global Deal Not Extended
  • 8 minutes Why Is America (Texas) Burning Millions of Dollars Per Day Of Natural Gas?
  • 11 minutes Is $60/Bbl WTI still considered a break even for Shale Oil
  • 15 minutes CNN:America's oil boom will break more records this year. OPEC is stuck in retreat
  • 27 mins The Pope: "Climate change ... doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain."
  • 21 hours Hormuz and surrounding waters: Energy Threats to the World: Oil, LNG, shipping markets digest new risks after Strait of Hormuz attack
  • 1 day As Iran Nuclear Deal Flounders, France Turns To Saudi For Oil
  • 20 hours The Magic and Wonders of US Shale Supply: Keeping energy price shock minimised: US oil supply keeping lid on prices despite global risks: IEA chief
  • 1 hour Middle East on brink: Oil tankers attacked off Oman
  • 7 hours Russia removes special military forces from Venezuela . . . . Maduro gone by September ? . . . Oil starts to flow ? Think so . .
  • 24 hours Never Knew Gasoline Prices were this important!
  • 12 hours Plants are Dying
  • 22 hours (Un)expectedly: UK Court Sets Assange U.S. Extradition Hearing For February 2020
  • 4 hours The Latest: Iranian FM Says US Cannot Expect To ‘Stay Safe’
  • 18 hours We Are Better Than This
  • 6 hours Emmissions up, renewables nowhere
  • 2 days Britain makes it almost 12 days with NO COAL
Alt Text

Renewables Are Set To Outprice Oil & Gas By 2020

Rapidly falling costs of renewable…

Alt Text

Oil Majors Are Missing The Renewable Boom In Asia

Renewables are booming in Asia,…

Climate Progress

Climate Progress

Joe Romm is a Fellow at American Progress and is the editor of Climate Progress, which New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called "the indispensable…

More Info

Trending Discussions

Cheap New Battery Creates Energy from Rusting Iron

A new low-cost, “air-breathing” battery has the capacity to store between eight and 24 hours’ worth of energy.

The rechargeable and eco-friendly battery uses the chemical energy generated by the oxidation of iron plates that are exposed to the oxygen in the air—a process similar to rusting.

“Iron is cheap and air is free,” says Sri Narayan, professor of chemistry at the University of Southern California (USC). “It’s the future.”

Details about the battery were published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society. Narayan’s patent is pending, and both the federal government and California utilities have expressed interest in the project.

Iron-air batteries have been around for decades—they saw a surge in interest during the 1970s energy crisis, but suffered from a crippling problem: a competing chemical reaction of hydrogen generation that takes place inside the battery (known as hydrolysis) sucked away about 50 percent of the battery’s energy, making it too inefficient to be useful.

Narayan and his team managed to reduce the energy loss down to 4 percent—making iron-air batteries that are about 10 times more efficient than their predecessors. The team did it by adding very small amount of bismuth sulfide into the battery. Bismuth (which happens to be part of the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol and helps give the pink remedy its name) shuts down the wasteful hydrogen generation.

Adding lead or mercury might also have worked to improve the battery’s efficiency, but wouldn’t have been as safe, Narayan says.

“A very small amount of bismuth sulfide doesn’t compromise on the promise of an eco-friendly battery that we started with,” he adds.

The California Renewable Energy Resources Act, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in April 2011, mandates that the state’s utilities must generate 33 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by the end of 2020.

This aggressive push toward renewable energy sources presents utilities with a problem: solar power works great on clear days and wind power is wonderful on windy days, but what can they do when it’s cloudy and calm out? People still need electricity, and won’t wait for the clouds to clear to turn the lights on.

Currently, solar and wind power make up a relatively small part of the energy used in California. In 2009, 11.6 percent of electricity in the state was generated by wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and small hydroelectric plants combined. (Large hydroelectric plants accounted for an additional 9.2 percent.)

As such, dips in energy generation from solar and wind power plants can be covered by the more predictable coal-burning grid.

As California moves toward more renewable energy, solar- and wind-power plants will need an effective way of storing large amounts of energy for use during clouding and calm days.

Traditionally, utilities store power by pumping water uphill into reservoirs, which can then release the water downhill to spin electricity-generating turbines as needed. This method is not always practical or even feasible in drought-ridden California, where water resources are already in high demand and open reservoirs can suffer significant losses due to evaporation, Narayan says.

Batteries have typically not been a viable solution for utilities. Regular sealed batteries, like the AAs in your TV remote, are not rechargeable. Lithium-ion batteries used in cell phones and laptops, which are rechargeable, are at least 10 times as expensive as iron-air batteries.

Despite his success, Narayan’s work is still ongoing. His team is working to make the battery store more energy with less material.

Collaborators include additional researchers from USC and Andrew Kindler of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech. Funding for this research came from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy, an arm of the US Department of Energy.

By.  Robert Perkins-USC




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment
  • Jay on September 09 2012 said:
    "Wasteful hydrogen generation"? That's a new one! Maybe flip a coin and figure out whether you want an electric battery or a hydrogen fuel generator.

Leave a comment





Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News