October 23, 2012

Ambri Liquid Metal Battery Company

Gigaom - Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures and oil giant Total back a liquid metal battery company called Ambri

Ambri is developing a battery for the power grid using molten salt sandwiched between two layers of liquid metal. The battery is still about two years from commercialization, and the team has built a 16-inch prototype, though they might scale that up to 36 inches. The team is still figuring out if they want the battery to be squarish or circular.

The base unit for Ambri’s solution is the liquid metal battery cell. Each cell is a 16-inch square unit containing about 1200 Wh. Cells are placed into refrigerator-sized modules, and the modules are placed in to a 40-ft shipping container rated at 500 kW and 2 MWh storage capacity.

LOW-COST: Ambri achieves low cost through the use of inexpensive, earth-abundant materials, and a simple, easy-to-manufacture design that capitalizes on the economies of scale inherent to electro-metallurgy.
» EASY TO DEPLOY: Ambri’s liquid metal battery is emissions-free, operates silently, and has no moving parts. As a result, it can be sited in the middle of the city or the middle of the desert without special regulatory or permitting requirements.
» FLEXIBLE: In the world of electricity storage, Ambri’s liquid metal battery performs both like a tractor and a race car. It can respond to dispatch signals in milliseconds—making it a great ancillary services resource—and it can store up to twelve hours of charge—making it a great energy resource as well.
» LONG LIFESPAN: Ambri’s all-liquid design avoids cycle-to-cycle capacity fade as the
electrodes are reconstituted with each charge through an alloying/de-alloying process. This enables the battery to exceed 70% round-trip efficiency without degradation.

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