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Energy Storage Researchers at Uppsala University develop an all-organic proton battery

| Editor: Erika Granath

Sustainable energy storage is highly sought after. To meet the high demand, researchers at Uppsala University, Sweden, have developed an all-organic proton battery that can be charged in a matter of seconds.

Researchers at Uppsala University have developed an all-organic proton battery that can be charged in a matter of seconds.
Researchers at Uppsala University have developed an all-organic proton battery that can be charged in a matter of seconds.
(Source: Uppsala University)

Uppsala University's researcher's new battery can be charged and discharged over 500 times without any significant loss of capacity.

The team's battery can be charged using a solar cell. Moreover, charing can be accomplished without the aid of the advanced electronics that, for example, lithium batteries require. Another advantage of Uppsala University's team's new battery is that it's unaffected by ambient temperature.

Christian Strietzel from Uppsala University's Department of Materials Science and Engineering said in a press release: "I'm sure that many people are aware that the performance of standard batteries declines at low temperatures. We have demonstrated that this organic proton battery retains properties such as capacity down to as low as -24°C."

Organic battery charged by solar cells

Today, most batteries manufactured have an enormous environmental impact, not least due to the mining of the metals used in them.

"The point of departure for our research has therefore been to develop a battery built from elements commonly found in nature and that can be used to create organic battery materials," explains Christian Strietzel.

The research team has chosen quinones as the active material in their battery to diminish the new battery's negative environmental impact. These organic carbon compounds are abundant in nature and can be found in, among other things, photosynthesis. The characteristic of quinones that researchers have utilized is their ability to absorb or emit hydrogen ions—which, of course, solely contain protons, during charging and discharging.

"There remains a great deal of further development to be done on the battery before it becomes a household item; however, the proton battery we have developed is a large stride towards being able to manufacture sustainable organic batteries in future," says Christian Strietzel.

An acidic aqueous solution has been used as an electrolyte, the vital component that transports ions inside the battery. On top of being environmentally friendly, this also provides a safe battery free from the hazard of explosion or fire.

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