A safe and economical way to store wind and solar energy is needed before clean energy can take off. We may have a breakthrough.
A team led by Michael Aziz, a physicist at Harvard University, decided to explore organic molecules called quinones. The compounds have long been known for being adept at grabbing and releasing electrons, a key requirement for a battery material. And they are plentiful in plants and even crude oil, making them potentially cheap. So Aziz says he and his students started testing a few different types of quinones in a flow battery and got fair results. That prompted them to team up with theoretical chemists led by Alán Aspuru-Guzik of Harvard to calculate the properties of more than 10,000 quinone molecules. That’s where they hit upon the rhubarblike compound.
What with the Keystone Pipeline controversy, you may wonder what our government is doing to promote green energy. So. It warms my heart that the organic battery research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The novel battery technology is reported in a paper published in Nature on Jan. 9. Under the OPEN 2012 program, the Harvard team received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) to develop the grid-scale battery, and plans to work with the agency to catalyze further technological and market breakthroughs over the next several years.
I learned of this renewable energy development from fellow-blogger, Energized Communities.
Harvard researchers have revealed they have created an organic battery that could reduce the cost of storing solar energy from around $700 per kilowatt hour to $27. The researchers themselves have been quoted as saying this could be the clean energy “game-changer”.