Organic batteries show performance gains

Researchers have made a significant breakthrough in organic radical batteries (ORBs), increasing their storage capacity by around 100 per cent.

Flinders University

With the aim of eventually powering small electronic devices and diverting toxic waste from landfill, researchers at Flinders University, Australia along with Chinese collaborators have used a catalysis strategy to produce two-electron storage in ORBs, which they are hailing as ‘a big advance in improving their storage capability’.

The rechargeable ORBs can be made from sustainable organic compounds to reduce reliance on lithium and cobalt, both of which are not widely recycled in modern batteries.

The uptake 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 only one electron can be reversibly stored in the materials, which provides the battery with a maximum capacity of 110mAh/g.

“Catalysis has been widely used in lithium-based batteries such as lithium-oxygen batteries and lithium-sulphur batteries to improve their energy and power performance,” said senior lecturer in chemistry Dr Zhongfan Jia, a research leader at Flinders University’s Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

The research team firstly apply this strategy to ORBs and successfully achieve reversible two-electron storage in a polymer-based ORB.

Dr Jia’s research team has recently reported all-organic polymer battery with a cell voltage of 2.8V, which is one of the highest voltages in organic batteries. Now, this work further doubles the energy storage capability.

“This battery can deliver a capacity of 175mAh/g, which is comparable to the commercialised lithium-ion battery, making a step closer to the practical use of ORBs.

“Our next goal is to combine these advances to develop organic batteries that can be implemented in consumer electronics,” Dr Jia said in a statement.

The team’s work is detailed in ACS Energy Letters.