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Rice Researchers Build Plant-Based Cathode For Li-ion Batteries

By - Source: Rice University | B 11 comments

Rice researchers discovered that the perennial climbing madder plant can be used as a source for purpurin, an organic dye that can be turned into a highly effective, natural cathode for lithium-ion batteries.

As a result, the scientists believe that the material would allow them to use it to manufacture more environment-friendly batteries.

"Green batteries are the need of the hour, yet this topic hasn’t really been addressed properly," said Arava Leela Mohana Reddy, lead author of the study. "This is an area that needs immediate attention and sustained thrust, but you cannot discover sustainable technology overnight. The current focus of the research community is still on conventional batteries, meeting challenges like improving capacity. While those issues are important, so are issues like sustainability and recyclability."

Current lithium-ion batteries usually integrate lithium cobalt oxide as cathode material.

Reddy said that mining the cobalt and the entire production process is very expensive and not environmentally friendly. "And then, recycling is a big issue,” he said. “In 2010, almost 10 billion lithium-ion batteries had to be recycled, which uses a lot of energy. Extracting cobalt from the batteries is an expensive process."

The newly developed purpurin cathode includes 20 percent of carbon to add conductivity. A prototype device provided a capacity of 90 mAh per gram after 50 charge/discharge cycles. The researchers are now looking into organic molecules for anodes and for an electrolyte that does not break the molecules down. They hope to have a complete organic battery within "a few years".

 

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  • 0 Hide
    bak0n , December 17, 2012 6:55 AM
    If they could make cheap, lith. batteries for cars... Fingers crossed.
  • 0 Hide
    freggo , December 17, 2012 8:00 AM
    bak0nIf they could make cheap, lith. batteries for cars... Fingers crossed.


    One problem with that is that the currently known world reserves of Lithium are not enough to convert all cars to battery powered electric vehicles.
    So either we find more of this stuff or find another substance that can be used.

    And again I am saying Hydrogen.... works in -slightly modified- gasoline engines, or can be used for fuel cells. And the supply is virtually endless.


  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 17, 2012 8:05 AM
    It fills up the batteries very quickly, but leaves them empty soon afterward
  • Display all 11 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    annymmo , December 17, 2012 10:28 AM
    A while ago some very cheap (ingredients and manufacturing cost in large quantities), environmentally-friendly, plentiful, non-toxic, ingredients are abundant and practical material was discovered for hydrogen storage:



    These two articles show two buy-able products using sodium silicate and mention advantages.
    We have this great technology, why isn't this already used more in electric cars and power buffers for the electric grid?



    Also if somebody wants to buy something, avoid the awful PowerTrekk cartridges (made by myFC)
    try to get something that works like the Hydrostik cartridges from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies .

    The PowerTrekk cartridges aren't very well thought out. Have a pretty severe design flaw.
  • -1 Hide
    annymmo , December 17, 2012 10:30 AM
    (Forgot links, reposted message with links.)

    A while ago some very cheap (ingredients and manufacturing cost in large quantities), environmentally-friendly, plentiful, non-toxic, ingredients are abundant and practical material was discovered for hydrogen storage:



    These two articles show two buy-able products using sodium silicate and mention advantages.
    We have this great technology, why isn't this already used more in electric cars and power buffers for the electric grid?



    Also if somebody wants to buy something, avoid the awful PowerTrekk cartridges (made by myFC)
    try to get something that works like the Hydrostik cartridges from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies .

    The PowerTrekk cartridges aren't very well thought out. Have a pretty severe design flaw.
  • -1 Hide
    annymmo , December 17, 2012 10:32 AM
    (Links still don't seem to work, reposted message with links.)

    A while ago some very cheap (ingredients and manufacturing cost in large quantities), environmentally-friendly, plentiful, non-toxic, ingredients are abundant and practical material was discovered for hydrogen storage:
    http://www.gizmag.com/the-horizon-fuel-cell-technologies-hydrofill-personal-desktop-hydrogen/13691/

    http://www.gizmag.com/horizon-fuel-cell-unmanned-aircraft/11913/


    These two articles show two buy-able products using sodium silicate and mention advantages.
    We have this great technology, why isn't this already used more in electric cars and power buffers for the electric grid?

    http://www.fuelcellseminar.com/media/9030/com34-5%20wallace.pdf


    Also if somebody wants to buy something, avoid the awful PowerTrekk cartridges (made by myFC)
    try to get something that works like the Hydrostik cartridges from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies .

    The PowerTrekk cartridges aren't very well thought out. Have a pretty severe design flaw.
  • 2 Hide
    digiex , December 17, 2012 11:40 AM
    I really love it if these experiments will come out for mass production.
  • 0 Hide
    twisted politiks , December 17, 2012 1:58 PM
    "The researchers are now looking into organic molecules for anodes and for an electrolyte that does not break the molecules down"

    - Gatorade, it's got what plants crave!
  • 0 Hide
    stingstang , December 17, 2012 2:11 PM
    I also hope to have the money for a Ferrari "In the next few years"
  • 1 Hide
    A Bad Day , December 17, 2012 8:54 PM
    freggoOne problem with that is that the currently known world reserves of Lithium are not enough to convert all cars to battery powered electric vehicles.So either we find more of this stuff or find another substance that can be used.And again I am saying Hydrogen.... works in -slightly modified- gasoline engines, or can be used for fuel cells. And the supply is virtually endless.


    Or, we use ultra-capacitors that have almost infinite power draw cycles compared to regular batteries, and pair them with small regular batteries (to start the engine and the other systems if the capacitors were drained).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 18, 2012 12:50 AM
    @twisted politiks

    I believe you're mistaken. Brawndo's got what plants crave.

    Brawndo .....it's got like...yo...electrolytes



    LOL!!