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Is this the Energy breakthrough and death of Lithium Batteries?

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Sea Salt battery Storage Unit

Could this finally be what the world has been looking for when it comes to low cost batteries to power our cars, homes and businesses?

Lithium power is what everyone has hitched their wagons onto for years and the high cost of mining plus relatively poor performance are just a few of the limiting factors.

Ludicrously high forecasts have predicted the sheer volume of Lithium that would be required to keep up with the demand - especially from electric vehicles.

Many batteries are built with rare earth metals like lithium, graphite, and cobalt.

To achieve climate neutrality, the EU will require 18 times more lithium than it currently uses by 2030 and almost 60 times more by 2050.

But these metals come at a cost. Lithium extraction can result in water shortages, biodiversity loss, damage to ecosystem functions and soil degradation.

When the metal is produced using evaporation ponds, for example, it takes approximately 2.2 million litres to produce one metric tonne.

How many people are actively developing Commercial alternatives for use in powering the big ticket consumers such as Chillers and VRF units?

New Sea Salt Batteries

This article in shows the potential for a new breakthrough in battery technology thats powered by Sea Salt. It has 4 times the energy storage capacity of lithium and without the issues associated with that tech.

Advantages of the salt battery

  • are made of harmless materials.

  • Battery efficiency 92 % in standard cycle.

  • are 100 % recycled.

  • are absolutely safe (non-flammable, non-explosive).

  • require no additional construction measures (no fire protection, no temperature control, no ventilation).

  • can be installed almost anywhere - it has to be dry (cellar, garage, shed, attic, etc.).

  • run even under extreme temperatures from -20° to +60° C.

  • can be completely deep-discharged or put into hibernation.

  • have a service life of at least 15 years and are maintenance-free.

  • are extremely robust and have a high energy density (like LIB).

Interestingly in a separate article there is a new development in Energy Storage

We all know that Solar and Wind can provide a large portion of our nations energy requirements, but what about those times when we need to store that energy that has been produced? During good weather conditions, wind and solar often generate more power than a grid can use.

This recent article shows the potential for storing the energy by turning old decommissioned mines into vast “gravity batteries” could provide up to 70 terawatts of energy storage. This is enough to match the entire world’s daily electricity consumption.

They use the excess energy produced by renewables to lift a weight. When the grid is running low on energy, the weight is dropped - powering a generator as it plummets.

The Underground Gravity Energy Storage (UGES) model proposed by researchers uses existing elevators to raise and lower containers full of sand.

Mines are well-suited to such batteries. This is because they already have deep shafts that could be used to drop a weight. Gravity batteries, require at least 300 metres of fall space to work properly.

Mines already have the basic infrastructure and are connected to the power grid, which significantly reduces the cost and facilitates the implementation of Underground energy storage plants.

How we monitor and use electricity will become even more important especially as we need to trust in these new battery storage options.

Alternative Energy Sources to Power M&E systems in Commercial Property

These Sea Salt battery developments mentioned above are all great, but how and where these can and will be used are somewhat dependant on additional sources - such as solar or wind for them to work fully, and for larger buildings that its always practical, so there will be transitions using some form of hybrid heating/cooling and water heating system such as this Hybrid system from Damvent

We know there is no "one size fits all" HVAC system for every property, but this is a good start especially for Business park type offices where savings are very impressive, and having the ability to provide 100% recycled air means that the system is extremely energy efficient.

It looks like there are opportunities on the horizon and of course how they get applied to commercial buildings and the associated large consumers such as A/C. As they say watch this space!

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