Energy-storing molecule holds promise for better batteries

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An issue that has long plagued renewable energy facilities is how to efficiently store energy collected from sun or wind.

Now, University of Michigan and University of Utah chemists have developed an energy-storing molecule that is 1,000 times more stable than current compounds, potentially leading to a longer-lived, more efficient battery.

The researchers are working to develop industrial-scale batteries that can store large amounts of energy for deployment when the sun sets or the wind stops blowing.

Deep-cycle lead batteries or lithium ion batteries are already on the market, but each type presents challenges, including the significant environmental hazards of disposal. Also, these kinds of batteries wear out relatively quickly.

"It's similar to what happens to your cell phone battery. You use the phone all day, wearing the battery down, and you charge it at night. Hopefully, the cell phone lasts for a few years, but you notice after a while the battery doesn't charge anymore," said Melanie Sanford, a U-M professor of chemistry. "That's exactly the type of problem that we're trying to address."

 

Read more at University of Michigan News

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