Researchers have built a more efficient, more reliable potassium-oxygen battery, a step toward a potential solution for energy storage on the nation’s power grid and longer-lasting batteries in cell phones and laptops.

In a study published Friday in the journal Batteries and Supercaps, researchers from The Ohio State University detailed their findings centering around the construction of the battery’s cathode, which stores the energy produced by a chemical reaction in a metal-oxygen or metal-air battery. The finding, the researchers say, could make renewable energy sources like solar and wind more viable options for the power grid through cheaper, more efficient energy storage.

“If you want to go to an all-renewable option for the power grid, you need economical energy storage devices that can store excess power and give that power back out when you don’t have the source ready or working,” said Vishnu-Baba Sundaresan, co-author of the study and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Ohio State. “Technology like this is key, because it is cheap, it doesn’t use any exotic materials, and it can be made anywhere and promote the local economy.”

Read more at Ohio State University