Storage capacity improved in organic radical batteries

Thursday, 12 May, 2022

Storage capacity improved in organic radical batteries

With the aim of one day powering small electronic devices and diverting toxic waste from landfill, researchers at Flinders University and Zhejiang Sci-Tech University have used a catalysis strategy to produce two-electron storage in organic radical batteries, or ‘ORBs’ — a big advance in improving their storage capability.

The emerging rechargeable battery technology uses more environmentally friendly materials than current metal-based batteries. ORBs can be made from sustainable organic compounds to reduce reliance on lithium and cobalt — rare materials that are usually not recycled in modern batteries and end up in rubbish.

The take-up of ORBs in electronics and other small device markets has so far been limited because of their lower capacity than commercialised lithium-ion batteries. Previous research has found that only one electron can be reversibly stored in the materials, which only provides the battery with a maximum capacity of 110 mAh/g.

“Catalysis has been widely used in lithium-based batteries such as lithium-oxygen batteries and lithium-sulfur batteries to improve their energy and power performance,” said Dr Zhongfan Jia, a research leader at Flinders’ Institute for Nanoscale Science & Technology. The research team applied this strategy to ORBs and successfully achieved reversible two-electron storage in a polymer-based ORB.

The research team recently reported in Chemical Engineering Journal the development of an all-organic polymer battery with a cell voltage of 2.8 V, which is one of the highest voltages in organic batteries. Their latest work, published in ACS Energy Letters, further increases the energy storage capability.

“This battery can deliver a capacity of 175 mAh/g, which is comparable to the commercialised lithium-ion battery,” Jia said.

“Our next goal is to combine these advances to develop organic batteries that can be implemented in consumer electronics.”

Image caption: Dr Zhongfan Jia is developing better battery storage capability for electroactive polymer ‘organic radical batteries’ at his Flinders University laboratory.

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