Feeds

Dying to make greener batteries

Plant molecule a replacement for cobalt

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.