Fluctuations in the supply of energy generated by wind and solar sources means that much of the energy they generate must be stored efficiently for re-use when demand increases. For this purpose, batteries of many sorts are utilised. The sea salt battery is a new type of battery, developed by Dutch firm Dr. Ten BV, and consisting of minerals, carbon, and salt extracted from natural sources,
Image: Netherlands Enterprise Agency
It’s inventor Dr. Marnix ten Kortenaar was inspired to develop the new battery when he saw that poor people in remote areas of Africa needed a better, cheaper and cleaner battery for storing solar energy. The adventure began six years ago when Marnix ten Kortenaar a volunteered in an African orphanage noticed Africans bought expensive lead-acid batteries. This had to change. He wanted to produce a simple and cheap battery for the local communities.
Longer recharge & discharge cycles
The basis for the work was laid in 1994 when Ten Kortenaar started research into metal air batteries. The new battery consists of natural materials and has sea-salt as the main component and can be built to custom sizes and capacities. It can also be used in any location for storing energy generated by wind- or solar power. It can also function as a charging station for electric vehicles. Made from low-cost materials, the battery can discharge for 100 per cent over more than 7000 recharge and discharge cycles - a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery has a higher energy density, but the lifetime is on average 1200 cycles.
Environmental & economical friendly
According to ten Kortenaar, the battery is more environmentally friendly than lead acid batteries (lead is scarce) and lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, which we know from the electric cars, smartphones and laptops. He says, “In three years, a family pays only a couple of extra euros a month to store their solar power with our sea salt battery.”
The design is based on the newest technological knowledge in the field of clean energy that also delivers energy efficiency of around 90 per cent. The sea-salt battery is another step in the journey away from fossil fuel dependency, to renewable energy sources. By 2020, Start Up Dr. Ten’s goal is to produce 500,000 batteries on sea salt.
Sustainable Urban Delta
The Dutch have the character and attitude of reinvention. Its people have embraced new ideas and innovation, with an ethos of ‘boldly going where none has gone before’ and ‘making things happen. We see it as crucial for economic growth, but moreover that it improves the well-being of society as a whole. Still, we strive to instil integrated approaches and holistic vision in our industries, knowledge institutes and citizens toward finding innovative solutions within high-tech, logistics and agriculture to further secure the Netherlands leading international position in innovation and sustainability – the Sustainable Urban Delta.