USC researchers Create Cheap Organic Batteries from Eco-Friendly Components


University of Southern California researchers have developed a new battery that is cheap as well as organic.

These rechargeable batteries are made from inexpensive and eco-friendly components and do not include any metal or toxic materials. These batteries aim to make energy grids at power plants more resilient and efficient.

Sri Narayan, professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, said that the batteries last for about 5,000 recharge cycles and have an estimated 15-year lifespan. On the other hand, lithium ion batteries stop functioning after around 1,000 cycles and its production cost is 10 times more.

"Such organic flow batteries will be game-changers for grid electrical energy storage in terms of simplicity, cost, reliability and sustainability," said Surya Prakash, professor of chemistry and director of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, in a statement.

Researchers said that solar panels can only produce power during the day and wind turbines can yield power only when the wind blows. It becomes difficult for power companies to depend on them for customer demand.

As these batteries can store surplus energy and release them whenever required, the issue of power supply can cease to exist.

"'Mega-scale' energy storage is a critical problem in the future of the renewable energy, requiring inexpensive and eco-friendly solutions," Narayan said.

The new battery is built on a redox flow design with two tanks of electroactive materials dissolved in water. The solutions are driven into a cell comprising of a membrane between the two fluids with electrodes on both sides, discharging energy.

The finding is published in the journal of the Electrochemical Society. 

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