Green Energy sources like wind and solar do not always produce power in the same cycle as needed by users. That is, the wind might blow at night not during work hours … so an effective “green energy storage” system could really make green energy sources more useful. “Green energy storage” needs to be relatively cheap or the green energy is not cost effective.
Harvard is conducting research on a “flow battery” that might provide “ … cost-effective, grid-scale electrical energy storage based on eco-friendly small organic molecules ….. “Flow batteries may make stationary storage viable in the marketplace, and that will enable wind and solar to displace a lot more fossil fuel.”
Flow batteries are like a rechargeable fuel cell using liquid chemicals to store generated power. Current technology uses vanadium redox (cost prohibitive due to raw material prices) or molten sulfur (must operate at very high temperatures).
Harvard’s research is looking at small organic molecules that are found in plans and can be made at low cost, are non-toxic and work room temperatures. These would offer high power density and could be co-located with the generating power source and would link directly to the power grid.
Via: Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences LINK