The batteries were built and successfully tested at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Over 10,000 quinone molecules were screened to determine the optimal candidate to base the battery upon. The selected molecules are stored in solution within massive external tanks with size being directly proportional to energy storage capacity. After over 100 charging cycles, no significant degradation was noted. However, much more testing will be required to be able to sustain the thousands of charging cycles large industrial units will need to maintain.
The molecule was developed with inspiration derived from vitamin B2, which mammals utilize to store energy from food within the body.
“With only a couple of tweaks to the original B2 molecule, this new group of molecules becomes a good candidate for alkaline flow batteries”
Says Michael J. Aziz, Gene and Tracy Sykes Professor of Materials and Energy Technologies.
“They have high stability and solubility and provide high battery voltage and storage capacity. Because vitamins are remarkably easy to make, this molecule could be manufactured on a large scale at a very low cost.”
“We designed these molecules to suit the needs of our battery, but really it was nature that hinted at this way to store energy,”
Adds Roy Gordon, the Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science.