Researchers from the Pacific North-Western National Laboratory (USA) made a breakthrough in creating catalysts for running batteries. These are bulky devices with two tanks with liquid electrolyte – anolite and catholite, which, when mixed and pumped through an ionellective membrane, produce electric current. They are used to create energy reserves, since tanks with charged and discharged electrolyte are easy to change and store.
The effectiveness of the running battery directly depends on the composition of the electrolyte, and this is an extensive area for research and experiments. American scientists were looking for a way to dissolve more fluorenol in water, and on the advice of colleagues from Yale University used β-cyclodestrin, a variety of sugar. It suddenly turned out that the fluid of the new composition perfectly holds protons, which allows the electrons to leak more orderly through the membrane.
After a series of experiments, scientists managed to choose the composition of the electrolyte, which increased the battery level by 60 %. Unlike solutions with metals used for the same purposes, sugar is completely dissolved in the liquid and does not create pollution, does not precipitate. According to calculations, it will be possible to increase the power of the battery even more, having achieved the energy density 4-5 times higher than that of lithium batteries.
Trying to check the influence of the new solution on the battery, scientists have continuously charged and discharged it. They would like to continue further, but their plastic tube for pumping fluids broke. What was the surprise when it turned out that the solution did not degrade during this time, and the battery only slightly lost the capacity.
Source — PNNL