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New invention could herald ‘battery revolution’, scientists say

Redox flow battery could prove crucial for full transition to renewable energy sources

Anthony Cuthbertson
Friday 15 September 2023 00:18 BST

Related video: Gigantic organic battery: The long-awaited revolution in energy storage

Researchers have invented a new battery that they claim could have profound implications for the future of energy storage and renewable technologies.

The lithium-based redox-flow battery, developed by a team at the University of Cincinnati, could prove crucial for wind and solar operations, where large-scale batteries are needed to store energy during times of overproduction and release it when production drops off.

“Energy generation and energy consumption is always mismatched,” said Jimmy Jiang, who led the research at the University of Cincinnati.

“That’s why it’s important to have a device that can store that energy temporarily and release it when it’s needed.”

The novel design removes the membrane that separates the positive and negative sides of the battery, which is one of the most expensive parts of this type of battery and has previously hindered development.

The membrane-free battery exhibited high voltage and energy density that could potentially meet the demands of large-scale green energy operations at an economically viable cost for the first time.

“This design significantly decreases material costs,” said Soumalya Sinha, a visiting professor at the University of Cincinnati who was involved in the research.

“We’re trying to achieve the same performance at a cheaper cost.”

The team has submitted patent applications for the design, which Dr Jiang said will herald a “battery revolution” within the next 20 years.

“I am confident about that,” he said. “There is a lot of intense research going into pushing the boundaries of battery performance.”

The research was detailed in a paper, titled ‘Development of high-voltage and high-energy membrane-free nonaqueous lithium-based organic redox flow batteries’, published in the journal Nature Communications.

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