Developing an organic proton battery that charges in seconds

Researchers from Uppsala University have developed an organic proton battery which can be charged in a matter of seconds.

The newly developed battery can be charged and discharged over 500 times without any significant loss of capacity. This new development by Uppsala University researchers has been published in the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie.

The researcher team’s organic proton battery can be easily charged using a solar cell. Unaffected by ambient temperature, this organic proton battery is believed to be much safer than conventional power sources.

“I’m sure that many people are aware that the performance of standard batteries declines at low temperatures. We have demonstrated that this organic proton battery retains properties such as capacity down to as low as -24°C,” says Christian Strietzel of Uppsala University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

A sustainable source of power

“The point of departure for our research has therefore been to develop a battery built from elements commonly found in nature and that can be used to create organic battery materials,” explains Christian Strietzel.

Researchers used quinones as the active material in their organic proton battery. These organic carbon compounds are widely available in nature. The characteristic of quinones that researchers have utilised is their ability to absorb or emit hydrogen ions, which only contain protons, during charging and discharging.

An acidic aqueous solution has been used as an electrolyte, the vital component that transports ions inside the battery. As well as being environmentally friendly, this also provides a safe battery free from the hazard of explosion or fire.

“There remains a great deal of further development to be done on the battery before it becomes a household item; however, the proton battery we have developed is a large stride towards being able to manufacture sustainable organic batteries in future,” says Christian Strietzel.

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