USC scientists create new battery that's cheap, clean, rechargeable... and organic
University of Southern California
Narayan collaborated with Surya Prakash, Prakash, professor of chemistry and director of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, as well as USC’s Bo Yang, Lena Hoober-Burkhardt, and Fang Wang. ‘Mega-scale’ energy storage is a critical problem in the future of the renewable energy, requiring inexpensive and eco-friendly solutions, Narayan said. The tanks of electroactive materials can be made as large as needed – increasing total amount of energy the system can store – or the central cell can be tweaked to release that energy faster or slower, altering the amount of power (energy released over time) that the system can generate. Through a combination of molecule design and trial-and-error, they found that certain naturally occurring quinones – oxidized organic compounds – fit the bill. Currently, the quinones needed for the batteries are manufactured from naturally occurring hydrocarbons.