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Organic mega-flow batteries

Havard scientists are working on a new new type of battery that could fundamentally transform the way electricity is stored on the grid, making power from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar far more economical and reliable. Battery storage and off-grid solutions are one of The Solar Consultancy's biggest growth areas, with clients across Wales showing increased interest in becoming self-sufficient.

One of the main drawbacks has always been that traditional battery storage materials are not particularly "green" in themselves, batteries using organically sourced materials seem to be an obvious step in the right direction.

The new battery technology is reported in a paper published in Nature on January 9, the Harvard team received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the innovative grid-scale battery and plans to develop this over the next few years. We will be monitoring this closely

The paper reports a metal-free flow battery that relies on the electrochemistry of naturally abundant, inexpensive, small organic (carbon-based) molecules called quinones, which are similar to molecules that store energy in plants and animals.

The mismatch between the availability of intermittent wind or sunshine and the variability of demand is the biggest obstacle to getting a large fraction of our electricity from renewable sources. A cost-effective means of storing large amounts of electrical energy could solve this problem.

Science, led the work on the synthesis and chemical screening of molecules, used pioneering high-throughput molecular screening methods to calculate the properties of more than 10,000 quinone molecules in search of the best candidates for the battery.

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