Nav: Home

Two better than one: USU chemists advance sustainable battery technology

March 16, 2018

LOGAN, UTAH, USA -- Utah State University chemists' efforts to develop alternative battery technology solutions are advancing and recent findings are highlighted in a renowned, international chemistry journal.

Tianbiao Liu, assistant professor in USU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and his team reported a new molecular design for aqueous organic redox flow batteries, known as AORFBs, in the Jan. 2, 2018, issue of Angewandte Chemie, in which their paper is honored as a cover feature.

In addition to Liu, the paper's authors are USU postdoctoral researcher Jian Luo and doctoral students Bo Hu and Camden DeBruler.

"Organic redox flow batteries show promise for large-scale storage of renewable energy, as redox-active organic molecules are synthetically tunable, sustainable and inexpensive," Liu says. "We think they're a great alternative to existing technologies to meet growing demand for battery storage of environmentally friendly, renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power."

Such renewable energy sources present challenges to use, he says, because of their intermittent availability, unstable, heavy cycling and grid energy demands. These sources require frequent changing and discharging, as well as irregular, full recharging of a robust battery.

In their paper, team members describe use of synthetic chemistry to design a molecule, featuring a pi-electron conjugation unit, as a novel, two-electron storage anolyte for neutral total organic AORFBs.

"The two-electron structure is a unique feature of this design," Liu says. "It enables total use of organic materials based on abundantly available elements, such as nitrogen and hydrogen.

The chemists' demonstrated battery delivered a high voltage of 1.44 volts in an aqueous electrolyte, along with impressive energy efficiency and capacity retention.

"The design is very robust and very stable," Liu says.

Observing a long-time tradition of Angewandte Chemie, Liu dedicated the paper to his master's mentor, Professor Mei Wang of China's Dalian University of Technology, on the occasion of her 62nd birthday.

"Dr. Wang is among the leaders in the field of renewable energy chemistry and was an inspiration to me," he says.
-end-
The team's research is supported by USU and a Utah Science Technology Research (USTAR) Initiative University Technology Acceleration Grant (UTAG). Hu receives support from a Chinese Scholarship Council Self-Financed Students Studying Abroad Award and a Utah Energy Triangle Student Award from the State of Utah's Office of Energy. DeBruler is a USU Presidential Doctoral Research Fellowship recipient.

Utah State University

Related Renewable Energy Articles:

Cold conversion of food waste into renewable energy and fertilizer
Researchers from Concordia's Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering (BCEE) in collaboration with Bio-Terre Systems Inc. are taking the fight against global warming to colder climes.
Researchers offer novel method for calculating the benefits of renewable energy
Researchers from the Higher School of Economics (HSE) have developed a novel system for assessing the potential of renewable energy resources.
Renewable energy needed to drive uptake of electric vehicles
Plugging into renewable energy sources outweighs the cost and short driving ranges for consumers intending to buy electric vehicles, according to a new study.
Renewable energy has robust future in much of Africa
Africa's energy demand is expected to triple by 2030. A new Berkeley study shows that the continent's energy needs can be met with renewable power from wind and solar in a way that reduces reliance on undependable hydroelectric power and imported fossil fuels, while at the same time saving money and providing jobs.
100 percent renewable energy sources require overcapacity
Germany decided to go nuclear-free by 2022. A CO2-emission-free electricity supply system based on intermittent sources, such as wind and solar -- or photovoltaic (PV) -- power could replace nuclear power.
Biofuel matchmaker: Finding the perfect algae for renewable energy
A new streamlined process could quickly pare down heaps of algae species into just a few that hold the most promise for making biofuel.
UChicago startup turns renewable energy into natural gas
One of the biggest challenges to wider adoption of wind and solar power is how to store the excess energy they often produce.
Improved water splitting advances renewable energy conversion
Washington State University researchers have found a way to more efficiently create hydrogen from water -- an important key in making renewable energy production and storage viable.
Research targets conflict over wind farming and renewable energy in Korea
Griffith University is undertaking a major international project to help address community conflict and disruption over wind farms and their implementation in Korea.
Move over, solar: The next big renewable energy source could be at our feet
Flooring can be made from any number of sustainable materials, making it, generally, an eco-friendly feature in homes and businesses alike.

Related Renewable Energy Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...