The main difficulty that organic and polymeric batteries present for large-scale implementation is their short life and lower energy density compared to batteries based on scarce and expensive metals. Therefore, to improve the properties of these sustainable organic batteries it is necessary to know how they work, their fundamental understanding at the molecular level in order to improve their efficiency.
The useful life of a battery and its storage capacity are two of the main challenges that scientists face in the field of energy storage and, especially, when it comes to renewable sources such as photovoltaic and wind, effective alternatives to reduce the impact of climate change.
An international team of researchers with the participation of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) has developed a new method of nuclear magnetic resonance that allows visualizing in real time the operation, decomposition and self-discharge of a redox flow battery, which is one that It can store and convert megawatt hours of electrical energy into chemical energy reversibly. The work, published in the journal Nature , will help improve the efficiency of batteries.
It is important to create sustainable batteries with organic components from nature, which are cheaper and less toxic than those that use materials like vanadium. But the main difficulty they present is their short life and that is why it is necessary to know how they work at the molecular level in order to improve their efficiency.
Javier Carretero González, CSIC researcher at the Institute of Polymer Science and Technology.
The method developed by this team of scientists consists of applying nuclear magnetic resonance to visualize the different operating mechanisms of the battery while it is working.
We have discovered that the voltage at which the battery is charged is decisive to control how it works and that an adjustment of this parameter and of the chemical structure of organic compounds would allow to extend the useful life of these sustainable batteries, as well as to increase the amount of stored energy. The development of this method will allow understanding a large number of processes.
Javier Carretero González.
Researchers from the British universities of Cambridge and Imperial College London, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Tongji University (China) and Seoul National University (South Korea) participated in the work.
More information: www.nature.com