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Added by admin 14/03/18
Posted by Geoff Dobson on March 12th, 2018
world’s first rechargeable proton battery has been created by
researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, using carbon and
water instead of lithium.
It could rewire how we power our vehicles, homes and devices,
The small prototype can potentially store more energy than
lithium-ion batteries which rely on scarce and expensive
resources, lead researcher Professor John Andrews says.
He expects it to be commercially available within five or 10
“The advantage is we’re going to be storing protons in a
carbon-based material, which is abundant, and we are getting
protons from water which is readily available.”
The battery produces no carbon emissions and can store
electricity from zero-emissions renewables such as solar panels.
It may also be used for medium-scale storage on electricity grids
– – like the giant lithium battery in South Australia.
The working prototype proton battery uses a carbon electrode as a
hydrogen store, coupled with a reversible fuel cell to produce
During charging, the carbon in the electrode bonds with protons
generated by splitting water with the help of electrons from the
power supply. The protons are released again and pass back
through the reversible fuel cell to form water with oxygen from
air to generate power. Unlike fossil fuels, the carbon does not
burn or cause emissions in the process, giving the battery an
environmental, energy and potential economic edge, Andrews says.
“Our latest advance is a crucial step towards cheap, sustainable
proton batteries that can help meet our future energy needs
without further damaging our already fragile environment.”
The battery has an active inside surface area of only 5.5 square
centimetres, smaller than a 20-cent coin.
“Future work will now focus on further improving performance and
energy density through use of atomically-thin layered
carbon-based materials such as graphene,” Andrews says.
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