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Vit B2 inspired molecule identified to store electricity


Washington: Inspired by Vitamin B12, researchers from the Harvard University have identified a new class of high-performing organic molecules that can safely store electricity from energy sources like solar and wind power in large batteries.

In their previous work, the team developed a high-capacity flow battery that stored energy in organic molecules called quinones and a food additive called ferrocyanide.

“Now, after considering about a million different quinones, we have developed a new class of battery electrolyte material that expands the possibilities of what we can do,” said Kaixiang Lin, a Ph.D. student at Harvard and first author of the paper.

“Its simple synthesis means it should be manufacturable on a large scale at a very low cost, which is an important goal of this project,” he added.

In the research, the team found inspiration in vitamin B2, which helps to store energy from food in the body. The key difference between B2 and quinones is that nitrogen atoms, instead of oxygen atoms, are involved in picking up and giving off electrons.

“With only a couple of tweaks to the original B2 molecule, this new group of molecules becomes a good candidate for alkaline flow batteries,” said Michael J. Aziz from Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Gordon, co-senior author of the paper, while talking about the recently derived concept said, “They have high stability and solubility and provide high battery voltage and storage capacity. Because vitamins are remarkably easy to make, this molecule could be manufactured on a large scale at a very low cost.”

The research is published in Nature Energy.


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