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Piaggio's first electric Vespa to go on sale next year

Added by admin 14/03/18

Posted by Geoff Dobson on March 12th, 2018

The 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, they say.

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 years.

“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 electricity.

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.

                                                   Story and image courtesy: EVtalk


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