The team has demonstrated the proton battery as a working device that can power small fans for several minutes.
Credit: RMIT University
Engineers in Melbourne are vying for pole position in the global race to make a cheap rechargeable battery for storing solar energy that does not rely on scarce natural resources.
Their latest experimental ‘proton battery’ could one day be developed to power homes, vehicles and devices – without the end-of-life environmental challenges of lithium-ion batteries. RMIT University has patented the latest developments in this technology internationally.
The battery uses a carbon electrode to store hydrogen that has been split from water, and then works as a hydrogen fuel cell to produce electricity.
The RMIT team is now embarking on a two-year research collaboration with Italian-based international automotive component supplier, Eldor Corporation, to develop and prototype this technology. RMIT has been collaborating with Eldor over the past five years on the same technology.
Lead researcher RMIT Professor John Andrews said recent design improvements to their proton battery meant it was becoming competitive as a carbon-neutral alternative to lithium-ion batteries.
“As the world shifts to intermittent renewable energy to achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions, additional storage options that are efficient, cheap, safe and have secure supply chains will be in high demand,” said Andrews, from the School of Engineering.
“That’s where this proton battery – which is a very equitable and safe technology – could have real value and why we are keen to continue developing it into a viable commercial alternative.
“There are also no end-of-life environmental challenges with a proton battery, since all components and materials can be rejuvenated, reused or recycled.”
What has the RMIT team achieved with their latest battery?
The team has demonstrated the proton battery as a working device that can power several small fans and a light for several minutes.
Andrews said their latest battery’s storage capacity of 2.2 wt% hydrogen in its carbon electrode was nearly three times that of their 2018 prototype, and more than double of other reported electrochemical hydrogen storage systems.
“Our battery has an energy-per-unit mass already comparable with commercially-available lithium-ion batteries, while being much safer and better for the planet in terms of taking less resources out of the ground,” he said.
“Our battery is also potentially capable of very fast charging.
“The main resource used in our proton battery is carbon, which is abundant, available in all countries and cheap compared to the resources needed for other types of rechargeable battery such as lithium, cobalt and vanadium.”
The planet’s supply of lithium is concentrated in just a few countries, while other metals such as cobalt that go into lithium batteries are becoming increasingly scarce and costly.
The recent performance gains have been achieved by design changes that enhance electrochemical reactions in the battery.
How does the proton battery work?During charging, the proton battery splits water molecules to generate protons, which bond to a carbon electrode.
Andrews said the proton battery avoided the energy-wasting steps of storing hydrogen gas at high pressure, and then splitting these gas molecules again in fuel cells.
“When discharging, protons are released again from the carbon electrode and pass through a membrane to combine with oxygen from the air to form water – this is the reaction that generates power,” he said.
“Our proton battery has much lower losses than conventional hydrogen systems, making it directly comparable to lithium-ion batteries in terms of energy efficiency.”
What are the next steps?
“We are looking forward to developing this technology further in Melbourne and Italy, in partnership with Eldor Corporation, to produce a prototype battery with a storage capacity that meets the needs of a range of domestic and commercial applications,” Andrews said.
“The aim of this collaboration is to scale up the system from the watt to the kilowatt and ultimately to the megawatt scale.”
Original Article: Proton battery promises cheap energy storage that’s kinder to nature
More from: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
The Latest Updates from Bing News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Tutanota vs Proton Mail: which is the better secure email service?
Totanota and Proton Mail are two of the most popular and “secure email” industry leaders. Both have an excellent reputation built on guarding user emails from prying eyes – even their own eyes. So ...
- NordVPN vs Proton VPN: which VPN is better?
NordVPN and Proton VPN are two very popular VPN providers that have proudly earned a top 10 spot in our best VPNs list. Both services come from reputable companies, are serious about your privacy, and ...
- HKU Engineering Team Unveils Innovative Battery Design That Promises High Energy Density And Sustainability
(B) Voltage profile of the QSMB compared to a battery using traditional aqueous solution: the suppression of proton storage facilitates high-voltage Mg-ion insertion in the cathode. (C) Literature ...
- 2024 Proton X70 facelift spied again – new grille with chrome pins, slimmer headlamps; launching soon?
The facelifted Proton X70 has been spotted on public roads in Malaysia again, including during a trip up Genting Highlands – these images come courtesy of paultan.org readers Putra Kamrin Azran ...
- Is VinFast Destined To Be the Next Proton?
There is another home-grown car brand in Southeast Asia that might offer some useful lessons. Proton Holdings is a Malaysian national car company that designs, engineers and manufactures its cars ...
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Solar energy storage
- New rules change solar energy credits for multi-family, commercial buildings
Columnist Teri Sforza questions if this is bill relief for non-solar folks or pandering to big utility profits.
- Lighthouse network expands, as St. John Parish opens Louisiana’s largest resilience hub for solar energy and storage
As St. John, the nation’s most climate-vulnerable place, opens the state’s seventh Community Lighthouse, other struggling communities try to fight LNG export terminals and open community solar ...
- Okanagan town takes step towards 'energy independence' with BC's first solar, battery facility
An Okanagan town has taken a step towards “energy independence” after the completion of British Columbia’s first ...
- Trina Storage delivers 50MWh energy storage system for an integrated Fishery-Solar-Storage project in Hubei Province, China
Trina Storage, a global leader in energy storage products & solutions, is proud to announce that it has delivered a fully integrated 50MWh energy storage system for a hybrid fishery-solar-storage ...
- Summerland Energy Centre officially open as the Okanagan’s first utility-scale solar and battery energy storage facility
Summerland celebrated the grand opening of its energy centre on Tuesday, which the district describes as the first utility-scale solar and battery energy storage system in the Okanagan Valley. The ...