MIT chemical engineering student Jesse Hinricher is working on specialized redox flow batteries that can be plugged into the grid. This will provide renewable energy on demand in order to counteract energy production problems, such as high costs, inefficiency or toxicity to the environment. Currently, optimized for large-scale energy grids, redox flow batteries can store renewable energy that is produced at peak times to redistribute it later. Redox flow batteries show similarities to ordinary batteries used at home in that they contain electrolytes which ferry electrons between a cathode and an anode to produce energy.
At the moment these batteries are made of rare and expensive materials, which Hinricher is trieying to change with his research. “If we can discover less expensive materials, it makes redox flow batteries more commercially attractive, which would be the coolest thing to ever have contributed to,” Hinricher’s says. His main goal is to conserve the environment, which “needs to be protected”, as he states.
Image Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology | mit.edu