Liquid Metal Battery is a form of energy storage invented by Donald Sadoway and his team at MIT. The team found tremendous success and in order to scale this project to help benefit society, they created their own startup called AMBRI.
Let’s start by briefly describing how batteries work: Simply put, batteries are made up just like an oreo cookie. It consists of 2 electrodes and an electrolyte. The electrodes are usually different types of metals and the electrolyte is salt.
For batteries to be commercially viable when in service it needs to meet the following qualities:
- Needs to store high amounts of energy
- Needs to store that energy for long periods of time
- Needs to be low cost for the consumer and the producer
AMBRI Liquid Metal Batteries are made up of the following:
- Top Layer: Negative Electrode (Liquid Litium)
- Middle Layer: Electrolyte (Molten Lithium Salts)
- Bottom Layer: Positive Electrode (Molten alloy of lead)
These three layers stay separated like oil and vinegar. When the battery discharges, the electrons flow from the Top Layer to the Bottom Layer and when the battery is being charged, the electrons flow the opposite direction. The reason this type of battery stays liquid is because the flow of electrons creates sufficient enough heat to keep the battery at its liquid state.
A major problem with current batteries is that they lose their durability after a certain amount of charges. Because the liquid electrodes don’t degrade, AMBRI estimates that their batteries would keep 85% of their charge after a decade of daily use.
How will the future of this new form of battery technology unfold?
We don’t know. But we do know that the construction of a new $5-Billion Battery Factory is set to begin in Nevada, next yer.