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Tuesday 15th November 2022 to Wednesday 16th November 2022

Isaac Newton Institute

United Kingdom

This hybrid Open for Business event aimed to bring together mathematicians and scientists working at the forefront of dynamo theory and its applications, with end users from industry to explore further opportunities for liquid metal batteries.


Energy storage is crucial to the success of renewables and currently there is no satisfactory scheme. Pumped hydro has worked well for over a century, but requires suitable terrain, while Lithium-ion batteries require rare metals which are in limited supply. The liquid metal battery (LMB) is a potential next generation storage scheme, first developed in the lab by Don Sadoway at MIT and now developed commercially by the US spin-off company Ambri. This company has just won a contract to build a large energy storage facility near Reno. However, there are still many technical problems arising from the need to scale-up and cluster LMBs to meet commercial storage requirements.
In the scientific scene, LMBs share some common threads with the flow of metals and plasma in planets and stars. Material science and chemistry is central to getting LMBs to work and there is significant scientific overlap in the fields of stability theory and the computation of liquid metal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD).
This knowledge exchange event was part of a four month research programme at the Isaac Newton Institute on Frontiers in dynamo theory: from the Earth to the stars. This programme emphasised the interplay between theory, numerical simulation and observations by bringing together applied mathematicians, stellar, solar and planetary scientists engaged in theory or observations, and experts from neighbouring fields.
This event was developed in collaboration with the SOLSTICE project on Sodium-Zinc molten salt batteries for low-cost stationary storage.
The event image is by Steffen Landgraf and shows Ni-foam freshly impregnated with liquid Li.

Aims and Objectives

This event brought together mathematicians and scientists working at the forefront of dynamo theory and its applications, with end users from industry to further investigate opportunities for liquid metal batteries. It gave an update on the progress achieved in recent years in terms of scientific research and industrial development and provided a discussion platform fostering knowledge exchange. Large-scale stationary storage is one of the key issues of future energy systems based on variable renewable energies and liquid metal batteries can address this need in an environmentally benign and economic way. 
Across a period of 1.5 days, this workshop will featured a series of talks that cover two main session themes:

  1. Stability Theory & Magnetohydrodynamics of Liquid Metal Batteries
  2. Commercialisation of Liquid Metal Batteries & The Economics of Storage                      


Programme of the day is available in the lefthand panel and included keynote talks by:

  • Wietze Herreman (LIMSI, Paris-Sud University, University of Paris-Saclay)

  • Donald Sadoway (Ambri, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Iain Staffell (Imperial College London)

  • Frank Stefani (Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf)

  • Tom Weier (Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf)

The event started with lunch and registration at 12pm on Tuesday 15th November and talks until 5pm, followed by a networking reception at 5pm – 6pm. On Wednesday 16th November, the event start ated 9:15am and close at 4:30pm.  All timings are GMT.


For those attending in person, there was an opportunity to present a poster.

Registration and Venue

Registration for this event is now closed.
The workshop took place at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Please visit the Isaac Newton Institute website for further information about the venue.

To maximise networking opportunities and interaction with speakers and other participants, we strongly encouraged in-person attendance to this workshop. However, this event was also hosted as hybrid via Zoom.


Following on from the event the Plus Magazine team interviewed Professor Donald Sadoway, Professor Emeritus of Materials Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Co-founder of Ambri.   


In collaboration with