“Today on a solar farm or a wind farm, storage is typically provided with batteries. But batteries are expensive, and can typically only store a fixed amount of energy,” says Sargent. “That’s why discovering a more efficient and highly scalable means of storing energy generated by renewables is one of the grand challenges in this field.”
This device efficiently splits water into its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen, storing energy as H2. The key is a new catalyst based on abundant metals tungsten, iron and cobalt, that is three times more efficient than the current state-of-the-art.