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Researchers create 'game-changing' new battery that creates drinkable water as it charges — here's how it works

"[Its] amazing properties could create an impact of the scale last seen with the Industrial Revolution."

Saltwater flower battery

Photo Credit: iStock

An exciting new battery is reported to make seawater safe for drinking and also produce graphene, a unique material that can be used in multiple industries. The power pack is the latest development from Madison, Wisconsin-based Salgenx

The tech is a regular science lab in battery form. The saltwater flow battery leverages chemistry to split sodium chloride into sodium and chlorine as it powers up and discharges, according to pv magazine

The University of Manchester reports that graphene is stronger than steel, electrically conductive, transparent, and can be thinner than a human hair. The university is studying how we can use the material to help store renewable energy. It could also help to make lighter vehicles and planes, among other functions. 

"Combining all of graphene's amazing properties could create an impact of the scale last seen with the Industrial Revolution," the university reports

On the battery side, Salgenx's power pack can also store energy from renewable sources, including the sun. 

"It is very suitable for solar power storage," Salgenx CEO Greg Giese told pv magazine. Storing intermittent renewable energy is increasingly important as more wind, solar, and tidal projects go online

Another perk — the use of this technology also can make seawater drinkable. The desalination component is on a trial run in the lab, pv magazine reports, but the hope is that cruise ships, cargo ships, and other places that would benefit from turning the ocean into potable water can utilize the innovation. 

"This is a game-changer for the desalination industry," Giese said to pv magazine. 

The magazine also reported that the battery system should last for 25 years. The company is working to bring it to multiple industries, including fiberglass and carbon fiber fabrication, where graphene production is touted as another revenue stream for users. 

"We are excited to be at the forefront of this technology and look forward to working with partners to bring this solution to communities around the world," Giese said to pv magazine.

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