A green Li–organic battery working as a fuel cell in case of emergency†
The routine access to electricity always means a drastic change in terms of quality of life making it easier and safer. Consequently, the global electric demand both on and off-the-grid is growing and calls for ongoing innovation to promote reliable, clean and safe power supplies. In this context, the development of new chemistries for batteries and fuel cells could play a critical role. From our prospects aiming at fostering the concept of sustainable organic batteries, we report in this article on the peculiar properties of dilithium (2,5-dilithium-oxy)-terephthalate salt, a novel redox-active material. Based on an oriented retrosynthetic analysis, we have succeeded in elaborating this organic electrode material through an original and low-polluting synthesis scheme, which includes both chemical and biochemical CO2 sequestration in conjunction with a closed-loop solution for recycling products. Beyond its remarkable electrochemical performance vs. Li, especially as a lithiated cathode material, this compound behaves also like an oxygen scavenger. This dual electrochemical/chemical reactivity makes the self-recharging of a Li cell based on this organic salt possible by opening it to air ensuring an electrical power reserve when a conventional electrical recharge is not possible. In such a case, the pristine rechargeable Li–organic battery operates as a sort of “Li/O2 fuel cell”.