In experiments, a battery using a fluorescent dye called BODIPY - boron-dipyrromethene - operated efficiently and with longevity, running well after 100 cycles.
"The library of molecules used in redox flow batteries is currently small but is expected to grow significantly in coming years," said Timothy Cook, assistant professor of chemistry in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences. "Our research identifies BODIPY dye as a promising candidate."
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. The battery is recharged using solar, wind or other energy source.
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. Alongside the longer lifetime, the tea predicts that BODIPY batteries would be powerful enough to be useful, generating an estimated 2.3 V.