Researchers at the Harvard University have hit upon a new organic molecule derived from vitamin B2 that has been found effective in storing electricity.
The obvious link here is that it is vitamin B2 that helps in storing energy in the human body. Researchers also stated one of the biggest advantages with the new molecule is that they are extremely soluble and stable, making them just right for developing flow batteries.
The new method is also proving to be cost effective as well given the relative ease with which the vitamins can be made on a large scale.
“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.
The researchers had earlier devised a technique to store electric charge in quinones, another organic molecule. A common food additive ferrocyanide too was found capable of holding charge though none proved to be as effective as the Vitamin B2 derived molecule. Researchers stated they had considered no less than a million quinones before hitting upon the right one.
The key differentiator here is that the Vitamin B2 derived molecules use nitrogen to store electrons while quinones relied on oxygen for the same. Researchers said they need to further work on the technology to develop efficient flow batteries that would be able to store electric charge from sources as varied and intermittent as the sun and wind. Researchers also stated they have drawn inspiration from nature and the way energy gets stored in humans and plans to develop artificial means to replicate the same.
Flow batteries prove to be extremely efficient in storing energy on a large scale without causing any adverse effect on its surrounding. In contrast, the current metal-based solutions are both corrosive and toxic.