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Scientists to bring back the nickel-iron batteries for green energy storage

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Posted January 18, 2016

Nickel-iron batteries have been around for 100 years. It seems like they are now completely pushed out by more modern alternatives. However, scientists from University of Amsterdam and E-stone Batteries Tromp company will try to reinvent the nickel-iron battery to match the requirements of future green energy.

Traditional Thomas Edison's nickel–iron batteries are quite old now, but they may make a return as scientists think they would be a good green energy storage solution. Image credit: User:z22 via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Traditional Thomas Edison’s nickel–iron batteries are quite old now, but they may make a return as scientists think they would be a good green energy storage solution. Image credit: User:z22 via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Although it may seem that more modern energy storage solutions would be more suitable for renewable energy production, old-school nickel-iron battery just needs a revision to work for another century.

Team of scientists now will try to investigate creation of better, more efficient and innovative electrode for nickel-iron batteries. It was made possible by KIEM funding from the Innovation Fund Chemistry. Although nickel-iron battery may be old technology, scientists say that it is perfectly suited for our future needs. Because the world is clearly moving towards green energy production, such as solar or wind power, better energy storage solutions have to be developed. Or, in this case, renewed. Nickel-iron batteries could potentially be cheap, safe, efficient and environmentally friendly energy storage solution, but certain obstacles have to be overcome till these requirements are met.

Currently nickel-iron batteries do not have a significant part of the market, because they are less efficient than other alternatives and rather expensive to manufacture. One of the main disadvantages of them is the negative Fe electrode. Side reactions from which it suffers make the battery less efficient and the processing steps more costly. New electrode would have a new electrode, which would contain high sulphur contents. Now researchers have to investigate drawbacks of the traditional NiFe battery and see how new electrodes could improve it.

This study shows what huge goals could be reached when private and public sectors cooperate. Scientists will research the battery technology and the private company will produce improved nickel-iron batteries. Eventually it will benefit everyone as they should improve green energy storage.

Source: uva.nl

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