60 seconds on…BODIPY

Materials World magazine
4 Jan 2017

What is it?

BODIPY, short for boron-dipyrromethene, is a glow-in-the-dark dye whose chemical properties allow it to store and transfer electrons efficiently, making it an ideal material for use in rechargeable batteries.

Who created it?

A team from the University at Buffalo, USA, headed by lead researcher Dr Timothy Cook.

What can it be used for?

BODIPY can be used in liquid-based redox flow batteries. These batteries are made up of two containers of fluid, separated by barriers. An electric current is created when electrons are moved from one container to the other. The battery can be recharged when using an energy source such as solar or wind, the electrons are moved back to the original container. During experiments on a BODIPY-based battery, the team were able to recharge and drain it 100 times without the dye degrading.

What could it replace?

The efficiency of BODIPY-based batteries, which are estimated to generate 2.3V of electricity, means they could replace less efficient conventional batteries. The risk of fire associated with lithium-ion batteries is also eliminated – if these new batteries ruptured, they would leak rather than burn. The researchers also hope that one day BODIPY batteries could power cars and homes.

To read the paper Characterization of a BODIPY Dye as an Active Species for Redox Flow Batteries, visit bit.ly/2fyg1fH

To watch the BODIPY-based batteries in action, download the Materials World app by visiting app.materialsworld.org