A Battery Powered By Vitamins Developed By Harvard Researchers

Posted: Jul 19 2016, 10:49am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


A Battery Powered by Vitamins Developed by Harvard Researchers
Vitamin inspired flow battery. Harvard researchers have identified a whole new class of high-performing organic molecules, inspired by vitamin B2, that can safely store electricity from intermittent energy sources like solar and wind power in large batteries. Credit: Kaixiang Lin/Harvard
  • A Battery Inspired by Vitamins is in the Works

Scientists are at it and a vitamin battery may be on the horizon.

Previously there have been batteries that have a high capacity for flow. They store electrical energy in organic molecules known as quinones and a food additive called ferrocyanide.

This combination is something which has paved the way for vitamin batteries. These chemical storage capacitors were not only fire-proof and non-toxic but anti-corrosive and low in cost to boot.

They could probably be used on a large scale in the future. The quinones were a stable source of energy for organic batteries. 

The scientists were hooked on the process of finding new biochemicals that could serve as raw materials for the batteries of the future. It has been quite a challenge though.

After scanning and scouring over a million quinones, the researchers have managed to make a new class of batteries. This is a giant step for the field of biochemistry and electronics. The large-scale batteries cost so little that you have to see it to believe it.

The research was published in the journal Nature Energy.

Flow batteries normally store potential energy in tanks. The larger the tank, the more the potential energy. Several scientists collaborated to replace metallic ions in ordinary batteries with quinones. These quinones are molecules that store energy in flora and fauna.

The most recent example of an advancement on this front is vitamin B2. This vitamin helps store energy from food in the human body. The differentiating factor between B2 and quinones is that nitrogen atoms are responsible for attracting and radiating electrons in the former.

The latter uses oxygen atoms instead. With a few changes in the B2 structure, it could make a pretty fine alkaline flow battery. The level of stability and solubility of this battery is just perfect. Also high voltage and storage capacity are a part and parcel of this novel battery.  

Since B2 molecules are easy to manufacture in the lab, this battery has limitless uses and could be made economically. While human ingenuity was needed in the making of this battery, the impetus and original plan was copied from Mother Nature.

Nature’s ways are simpler yet they work so well that mankind cannot help being inspired by them and so man imitates Nature. The team of researchers will keep tinkering with the basics and it is hoped that in the times to come, even better batteries will be invented. Such are the audacious hopes on which the very foundations of science are built. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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