If it lives up to its billing, it will help accelerate the big green future. Companies and homeowners could pull the plug on their local utility by banking electricity from solar arrays and wind farms for use when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. A 250-kilowatt battery system installed in a 40-foot container, for instance, could store solar energy from the rooftop arrays of a 40-home neighborhood for later use.
This magic box is called a vanadium redox flow battery. The heart of a flow battery are two electrolyte solutions — one positive, one negative — contained in separate tanks. When the solutions are pumped through a power cell containing a membrane, a chemical reaction takes place that generates electricity. When the process is reversed, the electrolyte stores energy.
The key component is vanadium, a naturally occurring element that can exist in positive and negative states, eliminating the contamination and degradation that occurs when two different elements are used to create a chemical reaction. Flow batteries are not as efficient as solid-state lithium-ion batteries. But unlike lithium-ion batteries that lose their capacity over time as they charge and discharge, the nontoxic electrolyte in a vanadium flow battery is endlessly reusable and never loses its efficiency.
Consider the First Source!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word choreographed an assembly of amino acids into an exquisite array of specific proteins. Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” In so doing God demonstrated a penchant for genomic writing, preceeded by an amazing series of prebiotic events, in a highly orchestrated presentation of evolutionary overcontrol.