Term of the Moment


Look Up Another Term

Definition: liquid metal battery

A technology invented by MIT Professor Donald Sadoway that is designed to provide battery storage to compensate for temporary imbalances in the U.S. electrical grid as more renewable energy is added. Massive electrical storage must be created to compensate for the periods in which there is no wind or sunshine.

Sadoway's inspiration came from his earlier work with aluminum smelting, which uses high temperatures to melt the metal. The technology from Ambri Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts uses molten magnesium and antimony for electrodes that are encased in cylindrical modules. The finished product is expected to house these modules in 40-foot long containers, and there would be far fewer modules than conventional battery technologies would allow and at less cost. See batteries.

Liquid Metal Battery Elements
Under high temperature, magnesium atoms lose two electrons and become magnesium ions that flow through to the antimony, where they form an alloy. To charge the battery, electricity drives the magnesium out of the antimony back to the magnesium electrode.