A promising organic compound for redox flow batteries

  • From Spain
  • Responsive
  • Patents for licensing

Summary of the technology

In the search for organic compounds for redox flow batteries, researchers from the University of Burgos have developed a synthetic procedure that allows obtaining a viologen, 3,3'-([4,4'-bipyridin]-1,1'-diio-1,1'-diyl)bis(butane-1-sulfonate), in a simple, selective and multigram scale. The use of this molecule can replace metals such as vanadium, giving as a result more economical and ecological batteries, among other advantages. Moreover, compared to other viologens, batteries built with the compound developed at UBU have a superior stability.


Details of the Technology Offer

New and innovative aspects

Viologens are a type of cationic organic compound characterized by rigid structures deficient in π electrons and excellent reversible redox properties. Researchers at the University of Burgos have been able to develop a new methodology for the synthesis of a novel organic structure in a simple way (a single reaction step), efficiently (yields greater than 90%) and in multigram quantities. This new 3-butylsulfonate viologen has been used as an electroactive molecule for the anolyte of organic redox flow batteries.

Main advantages of its use

- By using the methodology described by the authors, the desired organic compound is prepared from accessible starting materials and in a single reaction step.

- The novel viologen is isolated with a yield greater than 90% and in amounts higher than one gram.

- Flow batteries built using this molecule as an anolyte have a superior stability.

- It allows to replace vanadium, positioning itself as a more economical and ecological alternative.


The patented method describes the preparation of 3-butylsulfonate viologen from 4,4'-bipyridine and 1,3-butanesultone. Through a double alkylation of the nitrogen atoms of the bipyridine, the final compound is obtained (1.61 grams, 93% yield) using dimethylformamide as solvent and thermal heating. The flow battery constructed using this organic compound resulted in a lower capacity loss obtained (0.15% h-1) than the corresponding battery containing the viologen of propylsulfonate (0.49% h-1).


Among the various applications of 3-butylsulfonate viologen, finds its use as an electroactive molecule for the anolyte of flow batteries (energy storage).
The developed methodology could be applied to the synthesis of other viologens of interest.
On the other hand, the viologen described by the researchers at the University of Burgos could have other applications typical of viologens (herbicides, electrochromic elements, etc.).

Intellectual property status

Protected by a patent P202230676

Current development status

Prototype available for demonstration.

Desired business relationship

Trade Agreement, License Agreement, Technical cooperation: further development, Technical Cooperation: testing of new applications; Technical Cooperation: adaptation to specific needs.

Intellectual property status

Attached documents

Related Keywords

  • Energy Technology
  • Energy Market
  • Other
  • Organic synthesis
  • viologen
  • alkylsultone
  • organic redox flow batteries


The aim of the The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) of the Univesidad de Burgos is to promote Innovation technology through the reseach results transfer and the conexions between the University and the new needs and requirements of the society - we are the link between the University and the Industry. Contact person: José Manuel López (jmllopez@ubu.es)


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