Solar-powered aqueous flow battery is 20 percent more efficient than present batteries
Solar-powered batteries could make juicing up our power hungry devices of the future more convenient and speedier. While there are many engineers working on efficient batteries, two researchers at the Ohio State University have prepped up a solar battery with new capabilities. PhD students Billy McCulloch and Mingzhe Yu, have been working consistently at improving a solar air battery they unveiled last year. In their new study, the duo believes they have reached a new milestone with their battery called the ‘aqueous solar flow battery.’ Using solar power on their aqueous flow battery (which has water circulating inside it) the researchers have made the battery 20 percent more efficient in comparison to the currently available lithium-iodine batteries.
According to the researches, their patent pending battery is a combination of a solar panel and a battery clubbed up in a single device. They inform that the 20 percent efficiency achieved by their unique battery is made possible by the solar panel on top of the aqueous battery. In the first version of the battery, the duo had used a low performing solar panel mesh, but in this new version, they have replaced it with a solid sheet.
Besides the solar panel, other difference in efficiency of the battery is assured by water-based electrolytes flowing inside the battery. The battery has water circulating within the battery, which includes it into a new class of batteries called aqueous flow batteries. Having a solar panel on top, this is the first solar-powered aqueous flow battery and is this called the aqueous solar flow battery.
In trials, an aqueous solar flow battery was pitted against the traditional lithium-iodine battery. Each battery was charged and discharged 25 times. Both batteries discharged at about 3.3 volts; the difference was that the solar-powered aqueous flow battery took only 2.9 volts to be charged to discharge 3.3 volts, whereas the traditional battery took 3.6 volts. The difference between the charge-ups was met by solar power – which according to researches means energy conservation of 20 percent.
While the new solar-powered aqueous flow battery seems a really good alternative, most of us can have a doubt of its feasibility. Researchers confirm their battery, which is still work in progress and will be stretched to meet 100 percent efficiency, is compatible with the present day battery technology. It’s a environmentally friendly alternative to the existing technology.