Alkali Metal-Cathode Storage Battery

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A schematic cross-sectional view of an alkali metal-cathode solution storage battery
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Researchers
Pyoungho Choi, Ph.D.
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Raju Nagaiah
Licensing Associate 407.882.0593
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Alkali metal-cathode solution battery

US Patent 8,883,339 B2

This alkali metal-cathode storage battery provides high energy density, eliminating the need for thermal management and solving safety problems with benign copper metal cathode materials.

Grid energy storage applications use rechargeable batteries for saving both electric energy for use during peak load periods and power generated from photovoltaic arrays during the day to be used at night. The high operating pressure and high temperature (300° to 350°C) required for operation of current sodium-based batteries limit the selection of materials and necessitates a restrictive cylindrical cell design.

Advantages

This secondary alkali metal-cathode storage battery from the University of Central Florida provides high energy density and operates at a low temperature range (<100° C) with near zero self-discharge. Low temperature operation significantly enhances the safety of the battery compared to known sodium-based batteries, and unlike traditional batteries, the cathode provides an electron-conducting medium, so there is no need for conversion or intercalation. The design’s safe copper metal creates unique battery chemistry with the alkali metal anode, providing both a high redox (reduction-oxidation) potential and a high energy density. The battery’s flat components can easily be stacked in a planar structure that produces a much more compact battery than past cylindrical designs, making it an attractive option for large-scale energy storage. With a capacity of ≥ 1 megawatt, this alkali metal-cathode storage battery is suitable for power storage systems, electric vehicles, emergency power supplies, uninterruptible power supplies, peak shift apparatuses, frequency-voltage stabilizers, and wind and solar power storage.

Technical Details

The battery consists of an anode comprised of an alkali metal, a cathode composed of copper metal, and an alkali ion conducting electrolyte/separator. The cathode side electrolyte has the capacity to dissolve metal ions from the alkali metal, and the electron conducting materials cause an ion exchange reaction. When the battery is completely charged, ions from the electron conducting material (Cu+2 and/or Cu+ ions in the case of copper metal) only exist in the electrolyte solution.

Benefits

  • High energy density
  • High redox potential
  • Safe
  • Low temperature operation
  • Near zero self-discharge

Applications

  • Power storage systems
  • Electric vehicles
  • Wind and solar power
  • Frequency-voltage stabilizers