Liquid-metal batteries almost ready, beginning production

Ambri, a spin-off of MIT, is getting ready to begin production of its liquid-metal based batteries. Ambri currently has two customers ready to begin, a military base on Cape Cod and a wind-energy project in Hawaii.

The company will be making prototypes and demonstration units in Marlboro for installation next year and intends to have a full-scale manufacturing facility in 2015.

To keep battery prices low, Ambri uses inexpensive materials and a simple design. Each battery cell is a square metal box about 10 centimeters per side. Each cell contains two metals and a salt electrolyte that are all in liquid form when the battery is running.

According to the company, each unit - sixteen packs of 54 cells - can provide up to 500 kilowatts for up to four hours when several are connected together. And, because of the technology, there is very little storage capacity loss expected over time. This aspect, in particular, is an important feature for utilities and their budgets.

Ambri’s goal is to bring simpler, more affordable battery storage for clean energy generation and that is what they are beginning to do. To see it in action, we will just have to wait for their working prototypes. Until then, they have our attention.

To read more, visit IEEE Spectrum.