Empa researcher wants to develop a hybrid between flow batteries and lithium-ion batteries

David Reber, a member of the Materials for Energy Conversion Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), has received a four-year »Ambizione« grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to improve the energy density of redox flow batteries. Reber's approach is to completely decouple the energy storage from the electrolyte solution. »My vision is to develop a hybrid of sorts of a flow battery and a lithium-ion battery,« he says. To achieve this, he wants to add solid storage materials, such as those used in cell phone batteries, to the tank of the flow battery. »If the dissolved material and the solid storage material are precisely matched, they can transfer energy between each other,« Reber explains. »This allows the scalability of flow batteries to be combined with the high energy density of batteries with solid storage materials.« First, however, Reber must find suitable pairs of materials that allow energy exchange and remain stable over time. At the end of the Ambizione funding period, Reber hopes to have a well-functioning battery with additional solid storage.

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