Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Glow-in-the-dark dye could fuel liquid-based batteries

21.11.2016

A dye called BODIPY has special chemical properties that could facilitate energy storage, study finds

Could a glow-in-the-dark dye be the next advancement in energy storage technology?


A glowing solution of BODIPY dye is swirled under a black light. A University at Buffalo study shows that the dye has interesting chemical properties that could make it an ideal material for use in large-scale rechargeable batteries. Credit: Douglas Levere

Credit: Douglas Levere

Scientists at the University at Buffalo think so.

They have identified a fluorescent dye called BODIPY as an ideal material for stockpiling energy in rechargeable, liquid-based batteries that could one day power cars and homes.

BODIPY -- short for boron-dipyrromethene -- shines brightly in the dark under a black light.

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTpe3tgr_ss

But the traits that facilitate energy storage are less visible. According to new research, the dye has unusual chemical properties that enable it to excel at two key tasks: storing electrons and participating in electron transfer. Batteries must perform these functions to save and deliver energy, and BODIPY is very good at them.

In experiments, a BODIPY-based test battery operated efficiently and with longevity, running well after researchers drained and recharged it 100 times.

"As the world becomes more reliant on alternative energy sources, one of the huge questions we have is, 'How do we store energy?' What happens when the sun goes down at night, or when the wind stops?" says lead researcher Timothy Cook, PhD, an assistant professor of chemistry in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences. "All these energy sources are intermittent, so we need batteries that can store enough energy to power the average house."

The research was published on Nov. 16 in ChemSusChem, an academic journal devoted to topics at the intersection of chemistry and sustainability.

A dye-based battery of the future

BODIPY is a promising material for a liquid-based battery called a "redox flow battery."

These fluid-filled power cells present several advantages over those made from conventional materials.

Lithium-ion batteries, for example, are risky in that they can catch fire if they break open, Cook says. The dye-based batteries would not have this problem; if they ruptured, they would simply leak, he says.

Redox flow batteries can also be easily enlarged to store more energy -- enough to allow a homeowner to power a solar house overnight, for instance, or to enable a utility company to stockpile wind energy for peak usage times. This matters because scaling up has been a challenge for many other proposed battery technologies.

How BODIPY works in a battery

Redox flow batteries consist of two tanks of fluids separated by various barriers.

When the battery is being used, electrons are harvested from one tank and moved to the other, generating an electric current that -- in theory -- could power devices as small as a flashlight or as big as a house. To recharge the battery, you would use a solar, wind or other energy source to force the electrons back into the original tank, where they would be available to do their job again.

A redox flow battery's effectiveness depends on the chemical properties of the fluids in each tank.

"The library of molecules used in redox flow batteries is currently small but is expected to grow significantly in coming years," Cook says.

"Our research identifies BODIPY dye as a promising candidate."

In experiments, Cook's team filled both tanks of a redox flow battery with the same solution: a powdered BODIPY dye called PM 567 dissolved in liquid.

Within this cocktail, the BODIPY compounds displayed a notable quality: They were able to give up and receive an electron without degrading as many other chemicals do. This trait enabled the dye to store electrons and facilitate their transfer between the battery's two ends during repeated cycles -- 100 -- of charging and draining.

Based on the experiments, scientists also predict that BODIPY batteries would be powerful enough to be useful to society, generating an estimated 2.3 volts of electricity.

The study focused on PM 567, different varieties of BODIPY share chemical properties, so it's likely that other BOPIDY dyes would also make good energy storage candidates, Cook says.

###

The research team included first author Anjula M. Kosswattaarachchi, a UB chemistry PhD student, and Alan Friedman, PhD, a UB research assistant professor in chemistry. The study was funded by UB, The Research Foundation for The State University of New York, and the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Media Contact

Charlotte Hsu
chsu22@buffalo.edu
716-645-4655

 @UBNewsSource

http://www.buffalo.edu 

Charlotte Hsu | EurekAlert!

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Topological material switched off and on for the first time
11.12.2018 | ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies

nachricht Proteins imaged in graphene liquid cell have higher radiation tolerance
10.12.2018 | INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electronic evidence of non-Fermi liquid behaviors in an iron-based superconductor

11.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Topological material switched off and on for the first time

11.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs

11.12.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>