Is there such a battery that does not contain any metal materials and does not adopt flammable electrolytes? Sweden-based Uppsala University has recently researched and developed an organic proton battery that is not only eco-friendly, but is also capable of a full charge within seconds, with no impact on the capacity from more than 500 times of charging and discharging.
What is a proton battery exactly? How is it different from general lithium-ion batteries? First, the battery researched and developed by the Uppsala University team uses organic compound quinone as the primary material, and this specific compound absorbs and releases hydrogen ions during charging and discharging, where hydrogen is the only element without neutrons and is formed with protons within atomic nucleus and extranuclear electrons, hence proton is the only element left when hydrogen becomes hydrogen ion when it loses electrons, and that is where the name came from.
The intention of this research, is to produce organic batteries using natural elements, as expressed by Christian Strietzel, first author of the research. Lithium-ion battery, commonly seen in the market, would induce environmental damages from its initial mining, whereas the heavy metals and electrolytes within the battery will also lead to environmental pollution and fail to achieve circular economy, if it is not properly recycled.
The new organic proton battery also uses a different type of electrolyte, which is an acidic water solution that is resistant to fire and explosion, and apart from its dependable and environmental advantages, it only takes 100 seconds for a full charge, with 500 times of charging and discharging, as pointed out by the team. In addition, what differentiates it from the lithium-ion batteries within smartphones, is that it is able to function normally under a -24°C environment, commented Strietzel.
Though containing only 60 mAh, this battery is unable to charge smartphones and electric cars, and its battery capacity is considered as low, yet it could be a rather well concept in the rising trends of eco-friendly organic proton battery, which may also become a popular commodity in the niche market in the future with elevated voltage and power.
This research has been published on 《Angewandte Chemie》.
- Experimental organic proton battery charges in minutes
- An All-Organic Proton Battery Energised for Sustainable Energy Storage
(Cover photo is a sketch, source: Gerhard H Wrodnigg / CC BY-SA）