A new battery that could help make the electric cars and light-bulbs that run on them more efficient, safer and more cost-effective was developed by researchers at Harvard University.
It is a carbon-neutral battery that uses just one type of electron and no other in the world.
The battery is the brainchild of Dr. David Katz, a senior research scientist in the Center for Nanoscience at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
“It’s the first one that really works,” said Dr. Katz, whose team is developing the technology.
“We were looking for a way to make carbon neutral batteries without the use of a large amount of material.
We wanted to develop something that could be more energy-efficient, more affordable, and more environmentally friendly,” he said.
Dr. Katz’s team has developed a battery made of an organic compound that has electrons in a stable, stable state.
This stable state is the one that most efficiently converts the energy of a current, such as an electric current.
The researchers used the same molecule to make a battery that also has a stable state of carbon.
“What we do is we take a molecule that is very stable, and we put it in a liquid solution and put it into a solution with a very large amount and very low pH.
Then we add an electron,” he explained.”
So, in essence, the system is just like a battery, but you put an electron in there, and that electron is able to convert the energy in the system into the electricity that you get,” he added.
Dr, Katz said the material that the researchers are using has a lower pH than the acidity that the battery is meant to be in.
“Because of this, the chemistry that we’re using is very neutral, which is important, because acidity can be toxic,” he noted.
The Harvard team developed a new chemistry that makes the carbon-based battery more energy efficient.
This chemistry, called bismuth-2-oxide, has the lowest acidity of any carbon-containing battery chemistry that is known to exist.
“Our research is based on a very simple formula, which means that we can just take a carbon atom and we can use the energy that is released by this atom to make something that’s very stable,” he continued.
“Basically, the amount of energy that you put into the battery depends on the amount you put in the electrolyte,” Dr. Katz said.
“So if you put less energy in there than the electrolytes are designed for, it can be less stable, so we have a low acidity, so the amount that you are putting in is much less, and you get more energy out of the battery,” he concluded.
The carbon-free battery could also make it possible to make solar panels that are able to produce energy for other purposes, Dr. Hartmann said.
“This is the same principle that you can use to make your electric vehicle, or your solar system,” he pointed out.
“In fact, we can build a solar system, or a solar array that is actually able to generate electricity.
So, you can take a battery and put in energy that the electrolytic systems can’t handle, and they are able, in theory, to generate more electricity,” Dr Hartmann added.”
In the future, we may be able to take that battery and actually make the solar panels out of it,” Dr Katz added.
The team is also looking to apply the technology to other types of batteries, such a fuel cell that can store energy from renewable sources.