Researchers at Flinders University, with Australian and Chinese collaborators, are developing an all-organic polymer battery that can deliver a cell voltage of 2.8V, which would be a giant leap forward towards improving the energy storage capability of organic batteries.

Fully organic rechargeable household batteries are an ideal alternative to traditional metal-based batteries, and are a positive step in the fight to reduce waste from heading to landfill.

“While starting with small household batteries, we already know organic redox-active materials are typical electroactive alternatives due to their inherently safe, lightweight and structure-tunable features,” says senior lecturer in chemistry, Dr Zhongfan Jia, a research leader at Flinders University’s Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

“Most importantly, they’re sustainable and environmentally friendly.”

In collaboration with Dr Kai Zhang from the Zhejiang Sci-Tech University in China, Dr Jia’s research team aims to make a fully biodegradable battery with a cell voltage of more than 3V, and capacity to above 200mAh/g.  

Lithium-ion batteries have enabled a proliferation of portable devices and electric vehicles, but the rising demand for materials such as lithium, cobalt and other mineral ore resources have had a significant global environmental impact, including the non-hazardous disposal of batteries.

Developing rechargeable batteries from ethically sourced, sustainable materials for on-demand requirements is a potential alternative.

Research is focusing on improving fully organic batteries’ cell voltage, capacity and durability of materials to contribute to recycling in a circular economy with affordable and efficient batteries.

“Although the capacity needs further improvement, our work shows the promise of developing high-voltage, fully organic batteries with a judicious electrode design,” says Dr Jia.