Historical story

Invention of the electric battery (1800)

The electric battery is a direct current generator device discovered and invented by Count Alessandro Volta , Italian physicist. Starting from a phenomenon discovered by Galvani, Volta studies the electrical tensions which are established between different metals and develops an accumulator capable of storing electrical energy. This invention played a major role in the second industrial resolution.

Invention of the electric battery

Prelude to the invention of the electric battery, the Italian doctor Luigi Galvani observed in 1786 that frogs reacted by simple contact of two pieces of different metals and puts this observation on the account of the presence of electricity in the animal organism...

The Italian physicist Alessandro Volta disagrees because he considers that it is the two dissimilar metals that act as generators of electricity when they come into contact with a wet conductor. Thus in 1800 he invented a battery consisting of a superposition of zinc and silver washers grouped in pairs and separated by a cloth impregnated with salt water. Electric current flows continuously when the two poles are connected. This invention paved the way for numerous electrochemical research and the appearance of the so-called saline or zinc-charcoal dry battery in 1868 thanks to the improvements made by the Frenchman Georges Leclanché.

Modern use of electric accumulators

New varieties of batteries have been designed for electric vehicles. Improved versions of the conventional battery have been developed for electric cars, but they still have a number of drawbacks:low range, high price, location or environmental issues. For electric vehicles, the most promising latest batteries contain iron and lithium sulfide, zinc and chlorine, nickel metal hydride and a sodium-sulfur mixture.

Such batteries are being developed by electricity producers and are intended for use in "lifts", in order to compensate for momentary fluctuations in the load of the system. These battery modules could be installed near the sites according to demand. They have little adverse effect on the environment and have a small footprint.

To go further

- The fabulous history of inventions - From mastery of fire to immortality. Dunod, 2018.

- History of Electricity:From Amber to Electron, by Gérard Borvon. Vuibert, 2009.

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