Saturday, June 15, 2024

Researchers Develop Sustainable Batteries With Organic Electrodes

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Just imagine the amount of E-waste that can be avoided if batteries became organic!

Fully organic, rechargeable household batteries are a great alternative to standard metal-based batteries, especially when it comes to decreasing garbage and environmental damage. Researchers at Flinders University are now working on an all-organic polymer battery with Australian and Chinese collaborators that can achieve a cell voltage of 2.8V, a significant step forward in enhancing the energy storage capability of organic batteries.

“While starting with small household batteries, we already know organic redox-active materials are typical electroactive alternatives due to their inherently safe, lightweight and structure-tunable features and, most importantly, they are sustainable and environmentally friendly,” says senior lecturer in chemistry Dr Zhongfan Jia, a research leader at Flinders University’s Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

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Dr Zhongfan Jia holds the electroactive polymers used for organic batteries at his Flinders University laboratory. (Credit: Flinders University)

Dr Jia’s research team is now working with Dr Kai Zhang of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in China to develop a totally biodegradable battery with a cell voltage of more than 3.0V and a capacity of more than 200mAh/g using new organic electrode materials and structural design.

Although research, development, and commercialization may take years, the need for renewable energy is growing. While traditional lithium-ion batteries have enabled the proliferation of portable devices and even electric vehicles, rising demand for materials like lithium, cobalt, and other mineral ore resources has resulted in a number of social and environmental consequences, including battery safety and disposal.

For on-demand needs, developing rechargeable batteries from ethically produced, sustainable materials could be a viable option. Researchers all over the world are working to improve the voltage and capacity of entirely organic batteries, as well as the materials’ longevity, in order to contribute to recycling in a circular economy with affordable and efficient batteries.

“Although the capacity needs further improvement, our work shows the promise of developing high-voltage, fully organic batteries with a judicious electrode design,” Dr Jia says.

Read the entire study here.


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