Intellectual Property

Novel Batteries using Ionic Liquids

Novel Batteries using Ionic Liquids

Researchers at the Queen’s University, Belfast have developed a novel battery technology. The technology concerns the development of 'green' rechargeable batteries using ionic quinone/hydroquinone derivatives, which could generate higher voltages than conventional large scale flow batteries which use vanadium.



The technology is based on a design of a redox or ‘flow’ battery which stores and releases energy by the electrochemical reactions of liquids as they pass through a membrane.

Over recent years, the team have been developing liquid organic molecular materials for solvent-free ‘green’ redox chemical transformation applications. The battery developed here is based on organic materials (quinone/hydroquinone derivatives) which are molten salts at room temperature lowering the risk or fire or explosions.

Since these materials are cheap, safe, “green”, scalable (no limit on volume), in liquid form, and do not degrade when repeatedly discharged, they present the opportunity to create large-scale energy storage media for the harvesting or controlled delivery of intermittent renewable energy.


novell diagram 

Preliminary design of the novel battery


  • The technology offers distinct advantages over competing vanadium flow batteries.
  • The molecules are in liquid form, thus they do not require any aggressive solvents (e.g. sulphuric acid).
  • The solutions are entirely organic (i.e. heavy metal free) using cheap commercially available chemicals requiring only basic chemical processing to convert them into energy storing materials.
  • Compared to standard vanadium flow batteries, the overall system can increase energy storage capacity per unit volume by at least 20-fold.


The ultimate target market for the new chemistry is the renewable power generation utilities, such as wind or solar farms. The technology could lead to a step-change in electrical storage capacity, relative to current technologies, using the same conventional regenerative fuel cells to provide an integrated solution to the harvesting and distributing of electrical energy.


Patent Status

An initial UK patent application (GB1006488.9) was filed with a priority date of 19/04/2010, which entered PCT on 31/3/2011 with International Patent Number WO2011/131959.


Project part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.


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