Researchers Develop a Polymer to Enhance Efficiency of Redox Flow Batteries

The new polymer can cope with temperature up to 60°C


Researchers at the Friedrich Schiller University claimed that they have developed a new polymer electrolyte for redox flow batteries that enhances its efficiency and heat-resistance capacity.

Redox flow batteries are electrochemical energy storage devices that convert chemical energy into electrical energy through reversible oxidation and reduction of working fluids. These are flexible, efficient, and environmentally-friendly. Thanks to this flexibility, redox flow batteries have the potential to become an important means of energy storage in the future.

The researchers explained that redox flow batteries have two weaknesses, which restrain its widespread consumption. The first is the batteries’ restriction to a maximum working temperature of 40°C, which requires a cooling system. The other issue is the frequent use of hazardous and toxic heavy metal salts as electrolytes like vanadium dissolved in sulfuric acid. The researchers claimed that the new polymer electrolyte could resolve both these issues.

According to the research report, the new polymer electrolyte is soluble in water and can be used in aqueous electrolytes. The new polymer can also store electricity as it contains ions. The utilization of a new polymer will also eliminate expenses for an additional sensitive temperature management system as it can cope with temperature up to 60°C. This kind of energy storage system can be utilized in warmer regions like India, Africa, or Brazil.

The researchers said that the new advancement would help store electricity in non-hazardous and water-based solutions, which is stored in tanks. The stored electricity in the battery can be utilized again without any significant loss, they added.

“By improving the energy storage medium, we believe that the redox flow battery is once again in a good position to make an important contribution as the energy storage technology of the future,” said the researchers.

In May 2020, scientists at the University of Southern California demonstrated a version of the redox flow type battery using low-cost and readily available materials, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

According to a joint study by the European Patent Office and the International Energy Agency, major consumer electronics players and carmakers are driving research and development in the battery and energy storage arena. The top five patent applicants for battery and energy storage between 2000 and 2018 were Samsung, Panasonic, LG, Toyota, and Bosch.

Image credit: Friedrich Schiller University

Harsh Shukla is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Indian Express, he has covered general interest stories. He holds a Masters Degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune.

More articles from Harsh Shukla.