Progress toward greener redox-organic electrode batteries

Apr 24, 2023 02:55 PM ET
  • Our modern-day rechargeable batteries, such as lithium-ion batteries, are anything however sustainable. One alternative is organic batteries with redox-organic electrode materials (OEMs), which can be synthesized from natural "green" materials. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, a Chinese team has actually currently presented a new OEM for aqueous organic high-capacity batteries that can be quickly and cheaply recycled.

Typical not natural electrode materials in commercial batteries involve a whole spectrum of problems: limited sources, toxic elements, environmental problems, partially undesirable mining conditions, limited capacity, problems in recycling, as well as high expenses. No sustainable batteries can be created on a large scale based on these electrodes, though they are needed for a power transition.

Organic batteries with OEMs are still at the very beginning of their long road toward practical application. A team led by Chengliang Wang at Huazhong University of Science as well as Technology has actually now taken a significant action in this direction. The goal is to use OEMs in batteries with aqueous electrolytes. These are "greener", a lot more sustainable, as well as less expensive than the standard organic electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries.

The group selected to utilize azobenzene, a material that can be generated cheaply on a large scale and is insoluble in water while being extremely soluble in organic solvents. Whereas many other useful groups can only transfer one electron, the azo group (-- N=N--) in this molecule is able to reversibly transfer 2 electrons, which adds to a high capacity.

Detailed analyses demonstrated that, throughout the discharge procedure, the azobenzene is converted to hydroazobenzene after absorbing two of the electrons-- via the rapid, reversible binding of 2 protons (H+). Prototype coin cells and also laminated bag cells of various sizes with azobenzene OEMs as well as zinc counter-electrodes reached capacities on the range of ampere hrs, which were kept over 200 charge/discharge cycles.

As opposed to polymeric OEMs, the small azobenzene molecules can be reasonably recycled with a basic extraction using commercial organic solvents. The electrode material is air stable in both its billed and also discharged states and also can be recycled in returns of over 90% in every state of charge. The recycled items could be straight recycled as OEMs with no loss of capacity.

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