“It would store a day’s worth of sunshine from the solar panels on the roof of your house, potentially providing enough to power your household from late afternoon, through the night, into the next morning, without burning any fossil fuels.” Michael Marshak
By Linn Smith
September 3, 2014—What’s new in renewables? It’s not on the market yet, but it’s a metal-free flow battery that stores energy in chemical fluids outside of the battery instead of inside the battery. It can be stored in tanks. This battery, developed by Harvard scientists, can store electricity from solar or wind turbines at a very low cost and the amount of energy stored is only limited by the size of the tanks. To store the energy, the battery uses inexpensive, small organic, naturally occurring, molecules called quinones, which are abundant in green plants. The quinones used by the Harvard team are almost identical to the quinones in rhubarb.
Twice as Much Storage as a Conventional Battery
A team led by Michael Aziz, a physicist at Harvard, administered more than 10,000 charge carrying quinone molecules of a rhubarb like compound and incorporated them into the megaflow battery. Each carbon based molecule holds 2 units of electrical charge, compared to 1 unit in conventional batteries, storing twice as much energy as other batteries. The team showed that the battery works, generates a considerable amount of power and is inexpensive compared to other batteries.
Using Solar and Wind Energy Night or Day
In a wind turbine field, the tanks could be located underground or above ground or as one of the developers, Michael Marshak of the Harvard team, said, “Imagine a device the size of your furnace sitting in your basement. It would store a day’s worth of sunshine from the solar panels on the roof of your house, potentially providing enough to power your household from late afternoon, through the night, into the next morning, without burning any fossil fuels.”
I like that idea! An idea that furthers our efforts towards saving our planet for future generations!
September 7, 2014 at 8:04 pm
I knew Rhubarb had to be good for something. Nice blog. I love hearing about all the possibilities. Thanks Lin for all your research and hard work writing these weekly blogs.