Image: Kaixiang Lin, Harvard University
Harvard University researchers reckon they can make flow batteries cheaper using an electrolyte based on vitamin B2.
Flow batteries function much like lead-acid batteries, with a fluid that reacts with electrodes to store charge.
However, the liquid is cycled through an external tank in the charge/discharge cycle.
The external refresh of a flow battery's fluid means it can handle very deep discharges, while lead acid batteries have to be kept above 50 per cent charge.
For a static application like storage from solar power, that makes flow batteries an attractive third alternative to both lead acid and lithium batteries.