Posted in | News | Renewable Energy

UC’s Novel Battery Design Promises a Brighter Future

Jiang imagines a future in which every house is fueled by renewable energy stored in batteries, including those he and his students are currently designing.

UC’s Novel Battery Design Promises a Brighter Future
Visiting Professor Soumalya Sinha works with chemicals through a protective hood in a chemistry lab. Image Credit: Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

Jiang and his students at the University of Cincinnati created a new battery in their chemistry lab that could have far-reaching implications for the large-scale energy storage required by wind and solar farms.

Innovations like UC’s, according to Jiang, will have a significant impact on green energy. Batteries store renewable energy for later use, not just when it is generated. This is essential in making the most of wind and solar energy, he says.

Energy generation and energy consumption is always mismatched. That’s why it’s important to have a device that can store that energy temporarily and release it when it’s needed.

Jimmy Jiang, University of Cincinnati

In the journal Nature Communications, they outlined their novel design.

Traditional car batteries are made up of a combination of sulfuric acid and water. Furthermore, despite their low cost and use of readily available materials, they have significant drawbacks for industrial or large-scale use. They have a very low energy density, making them unsuitable for storing the megawatts of power required to power a city.

They also have a low electrochemical stability threshold, which, according to Jiang, means they can blow up.

Water has a voltage limit. Once the voltage of an aqueous battery exceeds the stability window of 1.5 volts, the water can decompose or be split into hydrogen and oxygen, which is explosive.

Jimmy Jiang, University of Cincinnati

However, Jiang and his students have engineered a water-free battery capable of producing nearly 4 volts of power. This innovative design achieves this feat without the need for a membrane separator, which Jiang highlighted as one of the costliest components in such batteries.

Membranes are super expensive. We developed a new type of energy storage material that improves performance at a lower cost,” added Jiang, an Associate Professor in UC's College of Arts and Sciences

He claims that membranes are inefficient.

They can’t separate the positive and negative sides completely, so there is always crossover,” he notes.

He stated that the group has filed provisional patent applications.

There is still a long way to go,” Jiang adds.

But, he claims that researchers are on the verge of a battery revolution in the next 20 years.

I am confident about that. There is a lot of intense research going into pushing the boundaries of battery performance,” he stated.

His students are just as enthusiastic as he is. Rabin Siwakoti, a Doctoral Student and study co-author, stated that the battery has a higher energy density.

So even a small battery can give you more energy,” he said.

We’ve managed to eliminate the membrane in a battery, which is a huge component of upfront costs. It’s as much as 30% of the cost of the battery.

Jack McGrath, Study Co-Author and Doctoral Student, University of Cincinnati

Countries are working to create inexpensive, more efficient batteries, according to co-author Soumalya Sinha, a Visiting Professor at UC.

This design significantly decreases material costs. We’re trying to achieve the same performance at a cheaper cost,” he says.

Other authors include Lead Author and UC Postdoctoral Researcher Rajeev Gautam, Doctoral Student Xiao Wang, and UC Doctoral Graduate Amir Lashgari.

Journal Reference:

Gautam, R. K., et al. (2023). Development of high-voltage and high-energy membrane-free nonaqueous lithium-based organic redox flow batteries. Nature Communications.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.