Power from nature: designing green battery materials from electroactive quinone derivatives and organic polymers
Current lithium ion battery technologies suffer from challenges derived from the eco-toxicity, costliness, and energetic inefficiency of contemporary inorganic materials used in these devices. Small organic molecules containing polycyclic aromatic moieties and polar functional groups have recently been presented as attractive electron donors that bind lithium and other small metal ions. This has endowed them with the potential to replace traditional inorganic electrodes consisting of metal composites. A family of naturally occurring carbonyl compounds, or quinones, have been of particular interest to the scientific community. However, they themselves have been plagued by issues of low voltages, poor conductivity, and capacity fading due to solubility in common polar electrolytes. Herein, we review a number of theoretical and experimental solutions to this problem, which include the use of heterocyclic derivatives, polymers, and conductive supramolecular carbon frameworks as electrochemical property enhancers, or stabilizers, of potential organic electrodes. This review focuses on the benign synthesis, current status, and future direction of organic battery materials with the aim of developing sustainable energy storage systems to meet the demands of a greener future.