Flow batteries differ from the conventional type in that the electro-active components of flow batteries are held in fluid form external to the battery itself, enabling such systems to store arbitrarily large amounts of energy. Flow batteries are therefore attractive as a potential means for regulating the output of intermittent sources of electricity such as wind or solar power. But an important limitation of most such systems is the abundance and cost of the electro-active materials. To overcome this limitation, Brian Huskinson and colleagues have developed an aqueous flow battery on the basis of inexpensive, non-metallic commodity chemicals, with the added advantage of enabling the tuning of key battery properties through chemical design.
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