Researchers say it’s a crucial step towards cheaper and more environmentally-friendly energy storage.
The RMIT-developed proton battery connected to a voltmeter. Photograph: RMIT
Researchers at RMIT university in Melbourne have created the world`s first rechargeable proton battery.
Despite the battery is just a small-scale prototype, it has the potential to be competitive with currently available lithium-ion batteries.
The rechargeable battery uses carbon and water instead of lithium.
The lead researcher Professor John Andrews said “Lithium-ion batteries are great but they rely on ultimately scarce and expensive resources,” he said. “Hydro is also a good technology but suitable sites are limited and the cost may be very high.
“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 itself produces no carbon emissions and it can store electricity from zero-emissions renewables.
Andrews said it could be commercially available within five to 10 years.
“When it is commercially available, it would be a competitor to the Tesla Powerwall and then eventually we’d hope we might find applications at the scale of the huge Tesla battery [in South Australia] and even larger.”