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The Future of Energy Storage: Safer and More Economical Hydrogen Batteries

Summary

As the world experiences an increase in extreme weather events, the need for adopting renewable energy sources and strengthening related infrastructure becomes a greater imperative. However, relying on the unpredictable production of electricity from renewables requires reliable energy storage systems […]

The Future of Energy Storage: Safer and More Economical Hydrogen Batteries

As the world experiences an increase in extreme weather events, the need for adopting renewable energy sources and strengthening related infrastructure becomes a greater imperative. However, relying on the unpredictable production of electricity from renewables requires reliable energy storage systems (ESS). Currently, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are the ESS standard, but their high cost and fire risk make them less than ideal.

Hydrogen fuel cell batteries, although they have lower energy density, offer significant economic advantages due to lower raw material costs compared to lithium-ion batteries. However, the safety concerns associated with hydrogen gas generated during the water splitting process hinder the widespread commercialization of these batteries.

To address this crucial safety issue, a team of researchers has developed a composite catalyst with manganese dioxide and palladium. This catalyst automatically converts hydrogen gas inside the battery into water, ensuring optimal performance and safety.

Manganese dioxide, which is otherwise inert to hydrogen gas, becomes an efficient absorber when combined with a small amount of palladium, preventing the accumulation of hydrogen gas that could lead to a potential explosion. In prototype cells equipped with the new catalyst, internal pressure is maintained below safety limits and electrolyte depletion is not present.

This successful technology solves the key safety problem with hydrogen batteries and represents a significant step towards their wide commercial application in energy storage systems. The ability to replace lithium-ion batteries with cheaper and safer hydrogen batteries not only addresses current energy storage challenges but can also spur rapid growth in the global market for these systems.

FAQ:

1. What is a lithium-ion battery?
A lithium-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery that uses lithium ions to store and release electrical energy.

2. What economic advantage do hydrogen batteries have?
Hydrogen batteries have lower raw material costs compared to lithium-ion batteries, making them a more economical choice.

3. How does the new technology address safety issues related to hydrogen batteries?
The new technology utilizes a composite catalyst that converts hydrogen gas inside the battery into water, ensuring optimal performance and safety.

4. How can this technology be applied outside of energy storage systems?
This technology can have safety applications in various industrial settings where hydrogen gas leakage can pose a risk, such as hydrogen stations and nuclear power plants.

Source: [Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)](https://www.kist.re.kr/eng/main/)