As a storage energy source, the “blue battery” can store and convert electricity at any time and can be used “in accordance with local conditions”. This is an innovative breakthrough of “blue battery”. However, how to stand out in the energy storage market of “Hundred Flowers” is probably a huge challenge for “Blue Battery”.
Recently, Forbes released the list of "30 Under 30" outstanding industrial workers in the field of industrial manufacturing ("30 under 30"), and developed a large-scale energy storage battery for salt storage batteries - "Blue Battery" It is famous. What is the "blue battery"? How to achieve energy storage by mixing salt and water? Can salt water batteries be combined with existing renewable energy sources? Where is the future of "blue battery"? With these questions, the reporter interviewed the co-founder of the Dutch energy company Aqua Battery, young science worker, and Ph.D.
The biggest feature of ‘blue battery’ is that it only uses salt water, and a special ion-exchange semi-permeable membrane. The raw materials are cheap and easy to obtain, and the safety is also guaranteed while storing energy on a large scale,” said Cen Jiajun.
The concept of "blue battery" has been around for a long time. As early as 1954, the concept of "sea energy", the "blue energy", was proposed by British engineers. The chemical potential difference between seawater and fresh water or two liquids with different salt concentrations can be used. For power generation. Previously, European researchers have also tried accordingly. According to the data, the original “blue energy” concept was to use the mixture of Jordan River water and Dead Sea salt water to generate electricity, but it was not until the 1970s that commercial semi-permeable membranes were commercialized. By 2009, Statkraft opened the first “blue energy” power plant in Toft, Norway, using this principle to generate electricity. However, due to the small scale of power generation, it was ultimately difficult to maintain due to high cost.
In addition, the "blue battery" is used as energy storage, and the converted electric energy can be stored at any time, and can be used "in accordance with local conditions", which is an innovative breakthrough of "blue battery". According to Qi Jiajun, “blue battery” uses two simple physical principles, namely electrodialysis and reverse electrodialysis, when used in the energy storage process. The charging process of “blue battery” uses the principle of electrodialysis. The electric energy converted from renewable energy such as photovoltaics and wind power is used to separate the ions in the brine through a special ion exchange membrane to produce a brine and a The clean water is stored in two separate water tanks; when the brine and the clean water are mixed, the chemical potential difference between the liquids with different salt concentrations can generate the corresponding current. Based on this principle, the “blue battery” is capable of storing the electricity generated by renewable energy and releasing it when needed.
It is worth mentioning that compared with the use of rare metal lithium batteries, vanadium flow batteries, and lead-acid batteries using heavy metal lead, the biggest advantage of "blue battery" is that it is sustainable and cost-effective. Qi Jiajun pointed out that “the cost of its energy storage medium is very low, especially when we expand its scale to more than 1 MWh. The standard energy cost of the 'blue battery' can be less than 0.05 Euro/kWh, it is safe. It is environmentally friendly. Even in the event of an accident such as a battery overflow or short circuit, the water temperature of the part of the brine and the 'blue battery' is only increased by about 1 degree Celsius. In addition, the standardized unit 'blue battery' is used. There is no problem in scale."
“The energy storage market is very diverse. Small-scale energy storage currently has lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid batteries. Large-scale energy storage currently has pumped storage power stations (PHES) and compressed air energy storage (CAES), but these batteries are not yet complete. To meet the practical application requirements. For the medium-sized energy storage market, I think the 'blue battery' has a chance." Cen Jiajun said.
“In the process of starting a business, the first obstacle is to turn a new concept into a product and then find a market segment of this product. In 2012, the medium-sized fixed energy storage battery market does not exist, that is, 1 kW-100 kW. The amount and capacity of 100 kWh - 10 MWh of energy storage capacity, until the recent years this segment of the market began to develop." Yan Jiajun said. But as the renewable energy market expands rapidly in Europe, many EU countries recognize the need for energy storage and fund the development of battery technology to ensure a sustainable supply of renewable energy and to avoid disrupting the stability of the grid. “Fortunately, when I started researching the 'blue battery', the renewable energy market began to flourish, and I also caught up with this wave of subsidies to develop the 'blue battery.' My goal is to build in 2020. A production line."
According to reports, Aqua Battery is currently constructing a second large-scale demonstration pilot project to build a “blue battery” system in a solar park owned by the Dutch Water Commission. Once the energy storage system is built, the power generation capacity is 1 kW. The capacity is 35 kWh. For the Chinese market, Yan Jiajun, born in Foshan, Guangdong, also expressed considerable interest. "If there is an opportunity in the future, I certainly hope to bring back the technology I have developed abroad to China.