Researchers Create an Efficient, Heat-Resistant, Green Energy Storage SystemOctober 13, 2020 by Stephanie Leonida
Energy storage via an improved redox flow battery solution from researchers at the Friedrich Schiller University has been introduced to the power electronics community.
Researchers from Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, developed new polymer electrolytes for redox flow batteries which are set to expand battery storage applications worldwide. The system that they created is efficient, flexible and environmentally sustainable.
A water-soluble, iron-based, environmentally friendly, and more efficient energy storage technology created by researchers at Friedrich Schiller University. Image used courtesy of Friedrich Schiller University
Resilient and Efficient Storage
The new type of polymer was designed by the researchers so that it is able to be used as an aqueous electrolyte. It was designed to be water-soluble and to contain iron so that it can effectively store energy.
“At the same time, the polymer can cope with a significantly higher temperature of up to 60 degrees Celsius, so that the additional expense for a sensitive temperature management is eliminated,” said Dr. Ulrich S. Schubert of the Center for Energy and Environmental Chemistry in a recent news release.
The technology was tested by Jena researchers and found to be more efficient than previous energy storage technologies available.
In terms of environmental sustainability, the newly devised battery storage tech enables electricity to be stored in a non-hazardous, water-based solution. This can then be stored in tanks temporarily before needed again, with little or no energy losses.
Schubert also said, “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.”
He added that Jena researchers’ work and “development shows once again the great importance of novel polymers for the development of innovative storage methods.”
Growing the Potential Use of Redox Flow Batteries
Prior to this advancement in research, redox batteries had two main flaws that needed to be addressed. Their design incorporated the use of environmentally detrimental, toxic heavy metal salts. One example is vanadium dissolved in sulfuric acid, for use as an electrolyte.
Secondly, they could only be used at a temperature of up to 40 degrees Celsius. A cooling system for this and higher temperatures was needed and now due to work by the Jena researchers, has been solved.
“In this type of battery, the energy-storing components are dissolved in a solvent and can therefore be stored at a decentralised location, which allows the battery to be scaled as required, from a few millilitres to several cubic metres of electrolyte solution,” Schubert said.