Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. These days I'm retired, and I can't by law give you advice. While I do make mistakes, I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct (old habits die hard!) Also, don't ask me why I called it "Volewica". It's too late, now.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Molten silicon battery

CSP uses molten salts to store heat so that the sun can provide power 24/7.  This new invention by an Ozzie company, 1414 Degrees, uses molten silicon:

Adelaide-based advanced battery expert, 1414 Degrees, has announced it has created a new silicon battery that costs a fraction of lithium-ion cells but stores up to 36 times more energy in the same space. 
The researchers involved in the pioneering battery’s development told the Australian Financial Review the molten silicon storage device can store 500kWh of energy in a 70cm cube. 
Compared with Tesla’s recently launched 14kWh Powerwall 2 lithium-ion storage battery, the device created by 1414 Degrees stores 36 times more energy. 
Not only does the new tech have a higher density that conventional battery cells, the molten silicon batteries are far cheaper to produce, at about one-10th of the price of lithium-ion. 

Although the article, in Motoring, muses about using these molten silicon batteries in transport, that doesn't seem very plausible.   The company's website reckons that they'll be useful for installations from 10 to 100s of MW for grid stabilsation, filling the gap between lithium-ion and pumped hydro.

Fascinating.  But these molten silicon batteries are still experimental, although the company believes it is on the brink of commercialisation.  I'll keep you posted.

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