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High capacity, low-cost flow battery powers up with the help of vitamins

by • July 19, 2016 • No Comments

Inspired by the energy storage space capabilities found in our own bodies, researchers at Harvard University have come up with a way to turn it into alkaline flow batteries via adjusted organic vitamin B2 molecules. As these molecules are non-toxic, non-flammable-bodied, and able-bodied to be generated at low cost, the researchers believe that their use may assist revolutionize sizeable-scale, inexpensive electricity storage space of intermittent energy sources such as solar and wind.

Flow batteries are rechargeable-bodied energy storage space units that use chemicals dissolved in liquids keepd in two external tanks that are separated by a membrane. After the battery has been charged up via energy of sources like wind or solar to pull electrons of the unquestionably charged solution into the negatively charged solution, an electric current flow is generated when the battery is switched on the and the electron flow is reversed. The resultant cell voltage is normally in the range of 1.0 to 2.2 volts and, as a general rule, the sizeabler the holding tanks, the greater amount of energy they can keep.

The new research carries on of previous work, where the Harvard scientists replaced metal ions utilized as conventional battery electrolyte materials in acidic electrolytes with organic compounds with charge-carrying capabilities called quinones. This was followed by research where they created a quinone able-bodied to operate in alkaline solutions by replacing the original bromine additive with ferrocyanide, that is a common anti-caking agent introduced to such things as kitchen salt.

This work ultimately led to the search for an actually additional environmentally-friendly quinone, and the researchers actuallytually found that, with a little fiddling, vitamin B2 may be put to use as a replacement. Vitamin B2 assists our bodies keep energy derived of the breakdown of the foods we ingest, with the main difference between B2 and quinones being the way that the two exchange electrons in the system – B2 uses nitrogen atoms, whereas quinone gives off and picks up oxygen atoms.

“With just a couple of tweaks to the original B2 molecule, this new group of molecules becomes a great candidate for alkaline flow batteries,” says professor Michael Aziz, the Gene and Tracy Sykes Professor of Materials and Energy Technologies at Harvard. “They have high stability and solubility and provide high battery voltage and storage space ability. Because vitamins are remarkably effortless to manufacture, this molecule may be manufactured on a sizeable scale at a quite low cost.”

Before the Harvard team arrived at the use of adjusted B2 vitamins in their research, a vast range of other organic molecules were considered, but vitamin B2 won out with its high-performance and low production costs.

The use of molecules such as vitamin B2 has in addition opened up a new realm of much like organic molecules for the team to explore and exploit, with the goal of developing a high-performing, long-lasting, organic-based flow battery. And they intend to do this by continuing research into much like energy-storage space mechanisms found in nature.

“We created these molecules to suit the needs of our battery, but quite it was nature that hinted at this way to keep energy,” says professor Roy Gordon, the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Chemistry at Harvard. “Nature came up with much like molecules that are quite significant in storing energy in our bodies.”

The results of this research were not long ago published in the journal Nature Energy.

The short video at a lower place explains the uses of a flow battery in alternative energy storage space.

Source: Harvard

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