Posted in | Materials Research | Energy

New Organic Material for Eco-Friendly, High Capacity Rechargeable Batteries

3Q, a novel compound conducts electricity and retains energy in a much better way than other organic materials presently used in batteries.

The crystal structure for single-crystalline 3Q, a novel organic material developed by Professor Loh Kian Ping and his team at National University of Singapore. (Credit: National University of Singapore)

A novel organic material of greater electrical conductivity and energy retention capability for use in battery applications has been successfully designed by a team of Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS). This new invention makes way for the development of environmental friendly, high capacity and ultra-stable rechargeable batteries.

Professor Loh Kian Ping, from the Department of Chemistry at NUS Faculty of Science, headed the study, which was published on 8th May 2017 in the influential scientific journal Nature Energy.

Challenges of rechargeable batteries

Rechargeable batteries are considered to be the main energy storage component in several large-scale battery systems such as smart renewable energy grids and electric vehicles. Researchers are now focusing on more sustainable, environmentally friendly methods of producing battery systems due to the increasing demands of these systems. One such method refers to the use of organic materials as an electrode in the rechargeable battery.

Lower environment footprints are left back by organic electrodes during production and disposal, which offers a better eco-friendly alternative to inorganic metal oxide electrodes generally used in rechargeable batteries. It is also possible to engineer the structures of organic electrodes in order to support high energy storage capabilities. However, the challenge refers to the poor electrical conductivity and stability of organic compounds when employed in batteries. Presently, organic materials used as electrodes in rechargeable batteries, such as organosulfer compounds and conductive polymers, also experience speedy loss in energy after multiple charges.

3Q - The novel advanced material

Prof Loh and his research team overcame these limitations by synthesizing a novel organic compound 3Q (π-conjugated quinoxaline-based heteroaromatic molecule) comprising of up to six charge storage sites per molecule in an effort to improve its energy retention and conductivity.

A high electrical conductivity of 395 mA hour per gram was displayed by the 3Q-based electrode when the electrode was hybridized with graphene and used in an ether-based electrolyte. The 3Q-based electrode also showed a powerful energy retention capability after multiple cycles of charge and discharge.

Our study provides evidence that 3Q, and organic molecules of similar structures, in combination with graphene, are promising candidates for the development of eco-friendly, high capacity rechargeable batteries with long life cycles.

Professor Loh Kian Ping, the Department of Chemistry, NUS Faculty of Science

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