Organic waste for sustainable batteries

February 18, 2016, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
The new carbon-based material for sodium-ion batteries can be extracted from apples. Credit: KIT/HIU

A carbon-based active material produced from apple leftovers and a material of layered oxides might help reduce the costs of future energy storage systems. Both were found to have excellent electrochemical properties and stand for the environmentally compatible and sustainable use of resources. Now, these materials are presented by researchers of the Helmholtz Institute Ulm of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in the journals ChemElectroChem and Advanced Energy Materials.

Sodium-ion batteries are not only far more powerful than nickel-metal hydride or lead acid accumulators, but also represent an alternative to lithium-ion technology, as the initial materials needed are highly abundant, easily accessible, and available at low cost. Hence, are a very promising technology for stationary systems that play a central role in the transformation of the energy system and will be a highly attractive market in the future.

Now, researchers of the team of Professor Stefano Passerini and Dr. Daniel Buchholz of the Helmholtz Institute Ulm of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have made an important step towards the development of active materials for sodium-based . For the negative electrode, a carbon-based material was developed, which can be produced from the leftovers of apples and possesses excellent electrochemical properties. So far, more than 1000 charge and discharge cycles of high cyclic stability and high capacity have been demonstrated. This discovery represents an important step towards the sustainable use and exploitation of resources, such as organic waste.

Schematic structure of the layered oxides produced. Credit: KIT/HIU

The material developed for the positive electrode consists of several layers of sodium oxides. This active material goes without the expensive and environmentally hazardous element cobalt that is frequently used in active materials of commercial lithium-ion batteries. At the laboratory, the new active material, in which proper takes place, reaches the same efficiency, cyclic stability, capacity, and voltage without any cobalt.

Both materials mark an important step towards the development of inexpensive and environmentally friendly sodium-ion batteries.

Explore further: Novel synthesis method opens up new possibilities for Li-ion batteries

More information: Liming Wu et al. Apple-Biowaste-Derived Hard Carbon as a Powerful Anode Material for Na-Ion Batteries, ChemElectroChem (2016). DOI: 10.1002/celc.201500437

Marlou Keller et al. Layered Na-Ion Cathodes with Outstanding Performance Resulting from the Synergetic Effect of Mixed P- and O-Type Phases, Advanced Energy Materials (2016). DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201501555

Related Stories

New low-cost battery could help store renewable energy

November 4, 2015

Wind and solar energy projects are growing at a respectable clip. But storing electric power for days when the air is still or when the sun goes down remains a challenge, largely due to cost. Now researchers are developing ...

Melting, coating, and all-solid-state lithium batteries

January 1, 2016

The joint research team of Prof. Yoon Seok Jung (UNIST, School of Energy and Chemical Engineering) and Prof. Seng M. Oh (Seoul National University) discovered a new way to develop all-solid-state lithium batteries without ...

Recommended for you

A protein that self-replicates

February 22, 2018

ETH scientists have been able to prove that a protein structure widespread in nature – the amyloid – is theoretically capable of multiplying itself. This makes it a potential predecessor to molecules that are regarded ...

Squid skin could be the solution to camouflage material

February 22, 2018

Cephalopods—which include octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish—are masters of disguise. They can camouflage to precisely match their surroundings in a matter of seconds, and no scientist has quite been able to replicate the ...

The cryo-electron microscopy structure of huntingtin

February 22, 2018

Mutations on a single gene, the huntingtin gene, are the cause of Huntington's disease. They lead to an incorrect form of the correspondent protein. With the help of cryo-electron microscopy researchers from the Max Planck ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.