Scientists have created the world’s first working rechargeable proton battery. It’s designed as an environmentally friendly alternative to lithium ion batteries – and it could even store more energy with further development. Lead researcher John Andrews, professor at RMIT University, said in a statement, “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.”

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Shahin Heidari, John Andrews, Saeed Seif Mohammadi, RMIT, RMIT University, proton battery, scientists

The proton battery relies on water and carbon, instead of lithium. According to The Guardian, it’s a small-scale prototype that has potential to compete with lithium ion batteries that help us use renewable energy to power homes and cars. RMIT also said when scaled up, proton battery technology could be utilized for “medium-scale storage on electricity grids,” pointing specifically to the giant South Australia energy storage project as an example.

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The working prototype utilizes “a carbon electrode as a hydrogen store, coupled with a reversible fuel cell to produce electricity,” according to RMIT. Proton batteries could be more environmentally friendly, cheaper, and store more energy than lithium ion ones thanks to the carbon electrode and protons from water, according to Andrews.

He told The Guardian this new technology, which could be commercially available in five to 10 years, would potentially compete with Tesla’s Powerwall. He said in the statement, “Future work will now focus on further improving performance and energy density through use of atomically-thin layered carbon-based materials such as graphene, with the target of a proton battery that is truly competitive with lithium ion batteries firmly in sight.”

The International Journal of Hydrogen Energy made the corrected proof of an article on the research available online earlier this month. Along with three scientists from RMIT, an engineer from Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in India contributed.

+ RMIT University

+ International Journal of Hydrogen Energy

Via The Guardian

Images via RMIT University