Lockheed Martin Corporation is developing a new “flow” battery made of inexpensive, non-toxic materials.
A company more synonymous with defense and aerospace operations hopes they can help utilities save money and use more renewable energy.
“You open up a chance not only to make renewables more marketable and more useful, you might even change the structure of at least a portion of the utility market,” Leo Mackay, a senior vice president for sustainability and ethics at Lockheed, told reporters at the company’s Global Vision Center in Virginia.
Flow batteries, which use chemicals dissolved in water, last longer than lithium-ion batteries, which are usually solid. This means they can help utilities meet consumer needs for longer periods during peak demand times.
“The challenge with existing flow batteries is that they lean heavily on materials like vanadium and zinc bromide which are extremely expensive and toxic,” Frank Armijo, LMT’s VP for energy initiatives. “Ours is neither of that.”