Most renewable energy researchers are focusing on a type of battery called a flow battery for storing energy, in which electricity is stored in a tank of liquid electrolyte. However, making this technology cost-effective on the scale required for the power grid has proven challenging.
Researchers at Berkeley are helping with this problem through the development of an affordable battery membrane, which is the part of the battery that separates the cathode and the anode. Traditional fuel cells use a fluorinated membrane, but these membranes are expensive and aren’t designed for a flow battery. The researchers have created a new type of membrane specifically for flow batteries made from polymers called AquaPIMs, or aqueous-compatible polymers of intrinsic microporosity.
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