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Rechargeable Battery Design Improves Energy Storage

MIT researchers have engineered a new rechargeable flow battery that does not rely on expensive membranes to generate and store electricity. The device, they say, may one day enable cheaper, large-scale energy storage.



The palm-sized prototype generates three times as much power per square centimeter as other membraneless systems — a power density that is an order of magnitude higher than that of many lithium-ion batteries and other commercial and experimental energy-storage systems.

The device stores and releases energy in a device that relies on a phenomenon called laminar flow: Two liquids are pumped through a channel, undergoing electrochemical reactions between two electrodes to store or release energy. Under the right conditions, the solutions stream through in parallel, with very little mixing. The flow naturally separates the liquids, without requiring a costly membrane.

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