Tohoku, UCLA workforce advance 4V-class metal-free natural Lithium-ion batteries; croconic acid cathode

Tohoku, UCLA workforce advance 4V-class metal-free natural Lithium-ion batteries; croconic acid cathode


A joint analysis workforce from Tohoku College and the College of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has made a major advance in the direction of high-voltage metal-free lithium-ion batteries through the use of a small natural molecule: croconic acid. An open-access paper on their work is revealed within the journal Superior Science.

In contrast to standard lithium-ion batteries, which rely upon supplies reminiscent of cobalt and lithium, natural batteries exploit naturally ample parts reminiscent of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. As well as, natural batteries have better theoretical capacities than standard lithium-ion batteries as a result of their use of natural supplies renders them light-weight.

Most reported natural batteries up to now, nevertheless, possess a comparatively low (1-3V) working voltage. Rising natural batteries’ voltage might result in greater energy-density batteries.

Itaru Honma, a professor of chemistry at Tohoku College’s Institute of Multidisciplinary Analysis for Superior Supplies, Hiroaki Kobayashi, an assistant professor of chemistry at Tohoku College, and Yuto Katsuyama, a graduate scholar at UCLA, discovered that croconic acid, when used as a lithium-ion battery cathode materials, maintains a robust working voltage of round 4 V.

Whereas natural batteries have attracted nice consideration as a consequence of their excessive theoretical capacities, high-voltage natural energetic supplies (> 4 V vs Li/Li+) stay unexplored. Right here, density useful principle calculations are mixed with cyclic voltammetry measurements to research the electrochemistry of croconic acid (CA) to be used as a lithium-ion battery cathode materials in each dimethyl sulfoxide and γ-butyrolactone (GBL) electrolytes.

DFT calculations show that CA dilitium salt (CA–Li2) has two enolate teams that endure redox reactions above 4.0 V and a material-level theoretical power density of 1949 Wh kg–1 for storing 4 lithium ions in GBL—exceeding the worth of each standard inorganic and identified natural cathode supplies.

Cyclic-voltammetry measurements reveal a extremely reversible redox response by the enolate group at ≈4 V in each electrolytes. Battery-performance checks of CA as lithium-ion battery cathode in GBL present two discharge voltage plateaus at 3.9 and three.1 V, and a discharge capability of 102.2 mAh g–1 with no capability loss after 5 cycles. With the upper discharge voltages in comparison with the identified, state-of-the-art natural small molecules, CA guarantees to be a primary cathode-material candidate for future high-energy-density lithium-ion natural batteries.

—Katsuyama et al.

Croconic acid has 5 carbon atoms bonded to one another in a pentagonal type, and every of the carbons is bonded to oxygen. It additionally has a excessive theoretical capability of 638.6 mAh/g, which is way greater than the standard lithium-ion battery cathode supplies (LiCoO2 ~ 140 mAh/g).

We investigated the electrochemical habits of croconic acid within the high-voltage vary above 3 V utilizing theoretical calculations and electrochemical experiments. We found that croconic acid shops lithium ions at roughly 4 V, giving a really excessive theoretical power density of 1949 Wh/kg, which is bigger than most inorganic and natural lithium-ion batteries.

—Hiroaki Kobayashi

Conceptual illustration of the work on croconic acid with multi-electron redox response at excessive voltage > 3.0 V. Katsuyama et al.

Though the theoretical capability was not achieved on this research, the researchers are optimistic this may be enhanced by the event of steady electrolytes at high-voltage and chemical modifications to croconic acid.

Since most electrolytes can’t stand for such a robust working voltage of croconic acid, growing new electrolytes is significant. Moreover, the constructions of small natural molecules, together with croconic acid, will be simply modified. Acceptable structural modification can stabilize the molecule, resulting in better capability and reversibility.


  • Yuto Katsuyama, Hiroaki Kobayashi, Kazuyuki Iwase, Yoshiyuki Gambe, Itaru Honma (2022) “Are Redox-Energetic Natural Small Molecules Relevant for Excessive-Voltage (>4 V) Lithium-ion Battery Cathodes?” Superior Science doi: 10.1002/advs.202200187


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September 2022