An invention that changed the course of time

It is no longer possible to imagine life without it. Almost no device works without it. Whether in a cordless screwdriver, to start a vehicle, in a mobile phone, in a torch or as an energy store for solar cells, the battery has become a part of our lives. And it is becoming more and more important at a time when energy consumption is constantly rising and new sources of energy have to be found. But let's look back at the beginnings: who were the heroes of today's progress back then?

The first inventor cannot be named. The oldest battery, found near Baghdad in 1938, was probably made between the 3rd and 1st century BC. This so-called «Baghdad battery» consists of a clay vase with a copper cylinder inside and an iron rod. Since there was no electricity at that time, it is assumed that the Baghdad battery was used to electroplate gold and silver. However, the exact use and mode of operation are still disputed today.

The Italian physicist Alessandro Count of Volta (*18.02.1745 in Como; † 05.03.1827) is regarded as the actual inventor with his Volta's Column. It consisted of copper, zinc and salt water as electrolyte. It was the first functioning device that provided a constant supply of electricity. Volta is also considered the founder of electricity theory. The electrical voltage (volt), which he measured for the first time, was named after him. In chemistry, he triggered a boom with electricity experiments. The invention of the battery was one of the most important inventions of all time. It enabled the development of many technologies and resulting devices.

Batteries Today

Today's batteries, from button cells to large storage containers, have the function of providing power without a mains connection. They support mobility and independence from electricity generators. The invention of the battery has led to the development of electric motors, whether in an e-vehicle or driving a machine. Batteries made lighting possible everywhere. And without battery storage, electric telegraphy up to today's telecommunications would be inconceivable. Ultimately, the invention of the battery has changed today's society and our daily lives in almost every respect.

Many different types of batteries for different applications have been developed to date. Currently, the lithium-ion battery is at the top of the list, with all its advantages such as high energy density and performance, as well as its disadvantages such as devastating raw material extraction and lack of recycling. The completely ecological salt battery is a bit «back to the roots», because Volta already used salt water as an electrolyte.

The sodium nickel battery

More than 25 years ago, research began into a very robust battery that would also function under extreme temperature conditions. It had to be durable and sustainable. The result was the salt battery, which does not burn and cannot explode. The history of the salt battery and the history of innovenergy® are separate chapters.