Producing electrical energy from solar and wind power is a common way to replace fossil fuels with renewable sources. Although the name of the ‘renewable’ sounds like the energy is provided infinitely, this is not the case in reality. When the energy is produced from sun and wind, there is a need to store the energy, so that it can be used at night too.
Stanford professor Hongjie Dai and Michael Angell found a solution to the remote locations not being able to access grid-scale battery usage. As of today, the technology is too expansive to be commercially used, but with this research, there is a way to spread the technology.
Dai and Angell designed a battery dependent on urea. As urea is found very easily in the environment, the new battery will help reduce the price and be commercially available. The battery is made from aluminum and graphite. Dai is fond of the new possibilities that the research brought to the industry:
“So essentially, what you have is a battery made with some of the cheapest and most abundant materials you can find on Earth. And it actually has good performance. Who would have thought you could take graphite, aluminum, urea, and actually make a battery that can cycle for a pretty long time?”
Angell also stated the long storage hours that this battery can reach:
“It’s cheap. It’s efficient. Grid storage is the main goal.”
Dai invented this battery working with urine long ago in 2015. Even at that time, the battery could charge in less than a minute and last many discharging cycles. Now, the battery can do 1,500 charges per discharge cycle. Not only that but compared to the lithium ion batteries, they stay at normal temperatures when ignited.
The Department of Energy supported Dai’s research along with the Ministry of Education of Taiwan and the Taishan Scholar project. The future of electrical storage lies in the urine, if the research is kept supported.