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Scientists at the Univ. of California have developed an environmentally friendly, low-cost, high cycle battery technology. Not yet commercialized but something that could replace deep-cycle and lithium batteries.

New water-based organic battery is cheap, rechargeable and eco-friendly

By David Szondy

June 29, 2014

4 Comments
The USC organic redux flow battery (not pictured) replaces metals with water-soluble organ...
The USC organic redux flow battery (not pictured) replaces metals with water-soluble organic materials (Photo: Shutterstock)
Lithium-ion batteries have made portable, rechargeable electronics commonplace. Unfortunately, they do have some glaring drawbacks, including heat issues, being made with rare, toxic elements, and the fact the technology doesn't scale up very well, which limits applications. A team of scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) is working on an alternative in the form of a water-based organic battery that is not only cheaper and more environmentally friendly, but also holds the potential for scaling up for use in wind and solar power plants as a means to store large amounts of energy.

The technology developed by the USC team is what’s called an organic redux flow battery. It’s a bit like a fuel cell, and a similar one was developed for NASA’s Helios electric-powered drones. It consists of two tanks containing solutions of electroactive chemicals. These are pumped into a cell, which is divided by a membrane. The solutions interact through the membrane and electricity is produced.

According to the team, the tanks can be of any size in comparison to the cells, so the total amount of energy that the system can store depends on how large the tanks are, which is one up on conventional batteries. The flow battery also has a better life span than lithium-ion batteries and its variants.

"The batteries last for about 5,000 recharge cycles, giving them an estimated 15-year lifespan," says Sri Narayan, professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “Lithium ion batteries degrade after around 1,000 cycles, and cost 10 times more to manufacture.”

The key to the new flow battery is the electroactive materials used. Instead of metals or other toxic materials, the USC team used organic compounds. By trial and error, the researchers were able to develop materials based on oxidized organic compounds called quinones, which are found in plants, fungi, bacteria, and some animals and involved in photosynthesis and cellular respiration.

Specifically, the quinones used in the new battery are anthraquinone-2-sulfonic acid or anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonic acid on the negative side, and 1,2-dihydrobenzoquinone- 3,5-disulfonic acid on the positive side of the cell.

The team sees the technology as one day leading to large “mega-scale” battery banks that are cost-effective and environmentally friendly. The quinones used in the flow battery are currently produced from naturally occurring hydrocarbons, but the team hopes one day to derive them directly from carbon dioxide. However, the immediate goal of the team is to scale up the technology to make it more practical.

The team’s findings were published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.
 

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How awesome would that be!

I'll believe it when I see it though. Still, there has to be a huge market for it since China controls the overwhelming majority of rare earth minerals. I'd shell out some coin for a battery that would last 15 years... maybe even go to electric drive.
 

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These types or announcements or papers describing some new technology come out quite often. When the rubber hits the road, and this moves out of the lab and in to the real world, then I will be in line to get one. More than a few result in a grade for the writer and little else.

Looking forward to new power storage solutions.
 

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The USC battery isn’t designed like the closed ones used in your phone and laptop. It’s a redox flow battery. Fow batteries store energy like lithium ion batteries but have their electrolyte (the substance that acts as the medium for the charging and discharging of the battery) separated out of the battery cell in liquid-filled tanks. Flow batteries are used for stationary applications like the power grid — you won’t find them in moving cars or mobile gadgets.

Clean storage: These scientists are making an organic, water-based battery for the power grid ? Tech News and Analysis

Damn.. just for large-volume, stationary storage.

Do we really want the miracle battery anyhow? The last thing I want is someone with an electric drive - miracle battery stinkpot lecturing me on how much CO2 was generated producing my sails.
 

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That sounds like the ticket!

The moment any of these come to market at a reasonable price, I'll be in line.
We can always hope!
 

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Then you should be all excited about these;


The nickel–iron battery (NiFe battery) is a rechargeable battery having nickel(III) oxide-hydroxide positive plates and iron negative plates, with an electrolyte of potassium hydroxide. The active materials are held in nickel-plated steel tubes or perforated pockets. It is a very robust battery which is tolerant of abuse, (overcharge, overdischarge, and short-circuiting) and can have very long life even if so treated.[7] It is often used in backup situations where it can be continuously charged and can last for more than 20 years. (Also, Nickel–iron batteries do not have the lead or cadmium of the lead–acid and nickel–cadmium batteries) Due to its low specific energy, poor charge retention, and high cost of manufacture, other types of rechargeable batteries have displaced the nickel–iron battery in most applications.
 

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Here is another new take on battery tech:


Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have created a lithium ion battery that outperforms the current industry standard by three times. The key material: sand. Yes, sand.

"This is the holy grail – a low cost, non-toxic, environmentally friendly way to produce high performance lithium ion battery anodes," said Zachary Favors, a graduate student working with Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan, both engineering professors at UC Riverside.
Sand-based lithium ion batteries that outperform standard by three times
 

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That is all well and good however the batteries they have now do the job quite well they need to do more work on the efeciency of the charging systems like solar and small wind for mobile instalations
 
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