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Marlboro company close to delivering first-ever liquid metal battery

Massachusetts company close to delivering first-ever liquid metal battery
Massachusetts company close to delivering first-ever liquid metal battery 03:06

MARLBORO - A company that MIT professor Dr. Donald Sadoway co-founded is only months away from delivering their first liquid metal battery to a customer.

It's called Ambri and it's an idea that has been years in the making.

"We want to have a battery that can draw from the sun even when the sun doesn't shine," Dr. Sadoway said to himself over two decades ago. 

Now, reality is setting in on that light bulb moment. 

The journey from idea to creation was a long one, Sadoway admits. It's a journey that took him to the pages of Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. 

He also made a stop to the Colbert Report, where he confidently predicted his liquid metal battery would "replace what we're using now". 

Ambri's liquid metal battery is a design that's never before been done. Within a casing, two metal alloys of calcium and antimony are separated by molten salt. By heating the cell to 500°C, the resulting electro-chemical reaction allows electricity to be either stored or discharged. 

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This application is huge when it comes to solar panels and wind turbines. 

"Nobody wants electricity that's green but doesn't work after dark. It's precisely after dark that you want your lights on," said Sadoway. 

The current solution for storing green energy is through the use of Lithium Ion batteries, but that solution is very expensive and can be dangerous. Having no battery at all means wasting the excess solar or wind energy you gather. 

This battery is made for grid-level storage, not something for your own home, and it has some big backers to the tune of over $200 million. The first to give a big boost was none other than Bill Gates. 

Chief Operating Officer of Ambri Jim Pruiett said once the technology is proven, it will be about scale the production up greatly. Pruiett says Ambri hopes to produce 1,000 shipping container sized liquid metal batteries to plug right into the grid. 

Without these batteries, Pruiett says, the future of green energy isn't as green.

Sadoway also continues to innovate with other electro-chemical reaction for future battery releases. In fact, a new Sadoway 'recipe' won the 2022 European Inventor Award, presented by the European Patent Office, just a few weeks ago. 

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