Feeds

Dying to make greener batteries

Plant molecule a replacement for cobalt

Application security programs and practises

A common and ancient plant dye could replace cobalt and help deliver greener lithium-ion batteries, according to a study out of America.

Purpurin, an extract of the common Madder plant, turns out to have the right characteristics to use as a cathode, according to research led by The City College of New York (along with Rice University and the US Army Research Laboratory).

In a paper in Nature (abstract here), the researchers observe “reversible lithium ion storage properties of a naturally occurring and abundant organic compound purpurin, which is non-toxic and derived from the plant madder.”

More simply, purpurin’s molecule has aromatic rings with carbonyl and hydroxyl groups that can perform the cathode’s task of passing electrons around – meaning that it can serve in the place of cobalt in the lithium battery.

According to Phys.org, it’s easy to process as well: the purpurin is dissolved in alcohol, and lithium salts are added, allowing the lithium ions to bind with the purpurin - at room temperature.

The researchers say getting rid of cobalt would have a bunch of green benefits: it would remove a toxin from the batteries, and remove the high-temperature processing required to combine cobalt ions with lithium to make the batteries.

Li-ion batteries are also energy-hungry to recycle, according to Rice University’s Dr Leela Reddy, with the result that the fabrication and recycling of batteries costs 72 kilos of CO2 per kilowatt-hour of battery energy.

The study suggests purpurin could either be extracted from farmed madden, or the molecule synthesized. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.