The global energy system in dire need revolutionary energy storage, which will replace outdated in all respects, but so far no alternative to mass use of lithium-ion batteries. Another candidate for this role, the efforts of scientists from Melbourne, became the so-called “proton battery”, the combination of fuel cells and chemical batteries.
The basis of design are the modified electrodes of carbon, e.g., graphene with its high absorbent capacity. Plus the cell membrane, which allows you to split ordinary water into oxygen and hydrogen, whose ions are immediately absorbed by the carbon electrodes. This process of charging and discharging ions released electrons form an electrical current and lose energy, the protons are combined with other electrons from the environment and oxygen turning into water.
We can say that the main “working substance” in this case are just protons, but this is not important. In the process of charge-discharge, unlike the fuel cell does not create explosive hydrogen gas. And there is no energy loss associated with changing States of aggregation of matter, so the efficiency of this design is comparable to lithium-ion batteries.
And what is the advantage of proton batteries before Li-ion? Carbon is cheaper, and in modified form is much safer and easier to handle than lithium. The prototype batteries at 1.2 V has been successfully tested, and now scientists decide the question of scaling their development. In the future, it can compete with all existing samples of the batteries.
Source — RMIT University