German energy company wants to build flow batteries in old natural gas caverns

Enlarge (credit: EWE)

A German energy company recently announced that it’s partnering with a university to build a massive flow battery in underground salt caverns that are currently used to store natural gas. The grid-tied battery, the company says, would be able to power Berlin for an hour.

The technology that the project is based on should be familiar to Ars readers. Two years ago, Ars wrote about an academic paper published in Nature that described “a recipe for an affordable, safe, and scalable flow battery.” German researchers had developed better components for a large, stationary battery that used negatively and positively charged liquid electrolyte pools to exchange electrons through a reasonably priced membrane. These so-called “flow batteries” are particularly interesting for grid use—they have

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Human liver cells seeded in mouse expands 50-fold to functional organoid

(credit: Chelsea Fortin/Bhatia Lab/Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research)

Being able to grow your own new organs may be in reach—with some cellular assembly required.

With a carefully constructed clump of cells, mice grew their own functional human liver organoids in a matter of months, researchers report this week in Science Translational Medicine. The cellular organ seeds blossomed in the rodents, expanding 50-fold in that time. They appeared to form complex liver structures, tap into vasculature, and carry out the functions of a normal liver. The critical factor in getting the organoids to take root, the authors report, was having the seed cells arranged just right.

Though the organ seeds are far from any clinical application, researchers are hopeful that they’ll one day be

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