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These new organic batteries are trying to dethrone LiON batteries

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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

LiON batteries have a variety of social and environmental issues ranging from they explode and are hard to recycle, to the fact that Lithium supplies are struggling to keep up with global demand so people are looking for better alternatives.

 

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Fully organic rechargeable and biodegradable household batteries are an ideal alternative to traditional metal-based batteries because unlike their more common cousins there’s no strip mining involved, less pollution in their manufacture, and fewer batteries ending up in landfills where they eventually degrade and pollute groundwater with dangerous chemicals.

 

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Now, in pursuit of a better battery researchers at Flinders University, with Australian and Chinese collaborators, have developed an all-organic polymer battery that like your traditional AA and AAA Lithium-Ion batteries can deliver a cell voltage of 2.8V – which is a big leap in improving 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’re] 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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In collaboration with Dr. Kai Zhang from the Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in China, Jia’s research team now aims to make a fully biodegradable battery with a cell voltage of more than 3.0V and capacity to above 200mAh/g through the innovative organic electrode materials and innovative structure design.

While traditional lithium-ion batteries have enabled a proliferation of portable devices and even electric vehicles, rising demand for materials such as lithium, cobalt, and other mineral ore resources have led to a range of social and environmental impacts including the safe usage and non-hazardous disposal of batteries.

Developing rechargeable batteries from ethically sourced, sustainable materials for on-demand requirements is a potential alternative. Research around the world is focusing on improving fully organic batteries cell voltage and capacity and durability of the materials to contribute to recycling in a circular economy with affordable and efficient batteries.

 

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

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