Harvard researchers say they’ve created a non-corrosive flow battery with exceptional duration
Lithium-ion batteries have the overwhelming majority of the energy storage market, but researchers are working on new chemistries they hope will help flow batteries gain significant market share.
Researchers are looking at a variety of substances, including variations on vitamin B2, in an effort to bring down costs by using readily available compounds and making the chemistry less corrosive and more environmentally benign.
Flow batteries store energy in liquid solutions in external tanks. The bigger the tank, the more energy they can store. That gives flow batteries the ability to scale easily, but after many charge-discharge cycles they require maintenance of the electrolyte to restore the capacity.
In their recent announcement, the Harvard researchers say they have modified the molecular structure of the positive and negative electrolyte solutions in order to make them water soluble.
One of the challenges the researchers addressed was finding the reason that viologen, the negative electrolyte, was decomposing so quickly. The team was able to tweak viologen’s molecular structure to make it more stable.