New Battery, Old Technology?

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A new battery that was invented almost five decades ago is resurfacing in major ways. In fact, it might be the newest solution to problems with battery inefficiency. However, this isn’t the first time that we’ve heard about old solutions to new problems.

New Battery Re-discovered

A new finding by researchers at MIT finds that the battery made of sodium and nickel chloride, using a new type of metal mesh membrane can help make power sources such as wind and solar capable of delivering electricity.

The researchers used a liquid sodium electrode material that was first discovered in 1968, but it was never thought of as practical as it required the use of thin membrane to separate its molten components. The only material used for this membrane was a fragile ceramic. These membranes made the batteries easily damageable in routine operating conditions. This meant that apart from a few industrial applications, this was never implemented in mainstream applications.

Having said that, this new group of researchers have taken this fragile component and used it as a specially coated Meta-mesh. This makes it much stronger and durable enough to stand up to industrial-scale systems.


The advantages of this include cheap, abundant raw materials. It is very safe and can endure multiple charge-discharge cycles without degradation.

Overall, the team found that using ordinary steel mesh that is coated with titanium nitride can perform the same functions of the old ceramic membranes, minus its fragility.

This new type of membrane can be applied to a large variety of molten-electrode battery chemistries. It also leads to new types of battery designs.


These particular batteries would not be suitable for major uses such as cars or phones. They are more conducive in larger-scale installations where cost effectiveness is key. They enable greater renewable energy sources to take place of traditional fossil fuel power sources.

Battery Technologies are too Important to Pass up:

Battery technology is one of the most precarious forms of electricity generation. Yet it’s the most mainstream means of generating household items. If we are to be this dependent upon batteries, it makes sense that teams are trying to reinvent old tricks and new ways of reviving them.




About Author

Nadia Zaidi

Nadia Zaidi is a freelance multimedia journalist whose work is featured in several print and digital publications. She previously developed and hosted a show on youth issues for community television, and produces short-documentaries for public outreach. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Ryerson University.

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