Scientists at the University at Buffalo believe they have discovered a way of making redox flow batteries outshine other energy storage chemistries.
The US-based researchers identified a dye called BODIPY (boron-dipyrromethene) as a more efficient material for storing energy in rechargeable, liquid-based batteries.
BODIPY shines brightly under a black light, but according to the team’s research the dye also excels at storing electrons and participating in electron transfer.
Redox flow batteries consist of two tanks of fluids separated by various barriers, its effectiveness dependant on the chemical properties of the fluids in each tank.
In experiments, the team filled both tanks with a powdered BODIPY dye called PM 567 dissolved in liquid.
The team found the BODIPY compounds were able to give and receive an electron without degrading. This enabled the dye to store electrons and facilitate their transfer between the battery’s two tanks for more than 100 full cycles without performance loss.
“The library of molecules used in redox flow batteries is currently small but is expected to grow significantly in coming years. Our research identifies BODIPY dye as a promising candidate,” said Timothy Cook, UB assistant professor of chemistry at the university.
The study focused on PM 567, different varieties of BODIPY share chemical properties, so it’s likely that other BOPIDY dyes would also make good energy storage candidates, Cook said.
The research team included first author Anjula M. Kosswattaarachchi, a UB chemistry PhD student, and Alan Friedman, PhD, a UB research assistant professor in chemistry.
The research was published in the academic journal ChemSusChem.