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South Dakota Mines Developing New Technology Aimed At Revolutionizing Energy Storage

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South Dakota Mines in Rapid City is developing new technology aimed at revolutionizing energy storage.

The research team is developing solid-state lithium ion batteries to replace liquid-state batteries used in household and industrial applications. The main difference between the batteries is in the material used for storing the energy.

Dr. Alevtina Smirnova is leading the research team at Mines. She says the current technology is outdated and dangerous.

“Because this liquid is environmentally hazardous, it is flammable, and this liquid also is the main cause of all the problems related to the current battery technology,” she says.

Smirnova says current batteries are also inefficient. She says liquid-state batteries lose their storage capacity twice as fast as solid-state batteries should.

Earlier this year, South Dakota Mines obtained a patent for the new batteries. Smirnova says companies should embrace better energy storage because of its positive impact on the environment and climate change.

“This is inevitable. This will be all coming very soon and those companies who understand the importance will start to change their management plans.” She says, “If they do not, if they are static, they just will not succeed.”

The Center for Solid-State Electric Power Storage at Mines is backed through a $2.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The state of South Dakota invested an additional 3.9 million to establish the Governor’s Research Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage that involves Mines and South Dakota State University.