"As things stand, the demand for electricity must be in constant balance with supply," said Thursday engineering professor Donald Sadoway, using an old chalk board to write down the formula for this battery.
According to Sadoway, cheap batteries made of liquid metal could store electricity generated by solar panels, wind farms or facilities to generate and save it for when it is needed.
That would be a significant change in the system current consumption.
"The battery is a device that would allow it," said Sadoway. "With it we can draw electricity from the sun, even when the sun does not shine."
Sadoway and his team of students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are so sure of his idea that created the Corporation for Liquid Metal Battery and plan to have models of size on a restaurant table in two years.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is one of the sponsors of the company.
The company plans to eventually bring to market a liquid battery the size of a container of 40 feet, able to carry enough electricity to meet the daily needs of 200 homes typical of the United States.
"You could have these batteries in the basements of buildings," said Sadoway.
"That means we do not build more plants and power lines only for use in the rush hour," he continued.
The main metals in the battery are common vanadium and magnesium, said the teacher, writing a basic chemical equation on the board.
The TED conference (Technology, Entertainment and Design) includes a series of presentations of cutting edge ideas. Speakers have 18 minutes to tell his proposal.
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