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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
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.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.