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Indian-American-led team develops cheap, eco-friendly battery

Source : Economic Times
Aug 06, 2012

WASHINGTON: An Indian American-led team of scientists have developed a cheap, rechargeable and eco-friendly battery that could be used to store energy at solar power plants for exigencies.

 

 

Sri Narayan

 

Led by Sri Narayan, professor of chemistry at the University of Southern California, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the team developed an air-breathing battery that 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," Narayan said in a statement. "It's the future."

 

Details about the battery were published on July 20 in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

 

As currently developed, Narayan's batteries have the capacity to store between eight and 24 hours' worth of energy, the University of Southern California said today.

 

His patent is pending, and both the federal government and California utilities have expressed interest in the project.

 

According to the university, Narayan and his team managed to reduce the energy loss down to 4 per cent, making iron-air batteries 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 said.

 

"A very small amount of bismuth sulfide doesn't compromise on the promise of an eco-friendly battery that we started with," he said.


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