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Issue 11, 2018
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Flexible lithium–CO2 battery with ultrahigh capacity and stable cycling

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Carbon dioxide is understood as a major contributor to the greenhouse effect. The search for an effective and efficient method for CO2 capture and utilization has become a priority task on a global scale. For Mars exploration missions, the ability to use the CO2 in the atmosphere (96%) could offer great benefits in terms of energy storage. The Li–CO2 battery is considered a promising platform for CO2 capture, with its ability to utilize the captured CO2 for energy storage. However, the Li–CO2 battery still suffers various inadequacies, including the slow kinetics of CO2 reduction, the high charge/discharge hysteresis, the ultra-stable discharge product, and the slow transport of CO2 gas and electrolyte. In this work, we introduce a high-capacity, long-life Li–CO2 battery based on a flexible wood cathode architecture. Mother nature has produced the most efficient ion and gas transport architectural system in the form of wood. The unique channel structure of the wood-based cathode separates the transport of CO2 and the electrolyte into specific pathways, leading to facilitated transport. The improvements in mass transport, combined with faster kinetics as a result of the use of Ru nanocatalyst supported on carbon nanotubes that reside in the microchannels, contribute to substantially improved electrochemical performance. Stable cycling for over 200 cycles with both a low overpotential and an ultrahigh discharge capacity of 11 mA h cm−2 is achieved with the flexible wood-based Li–CO2 battery. Such a long cycle life and high capacity is unprecedented for a Li–CO2 battery. Additionally, the cathode exhibits excellent mechanical flexibility imparted by the flexible wood scaffold, holding great promise for wearable device applications. The high capacity and the long cycle life make the flexible wood cathode Li–CO2 battery a promising candidate for combining CO2 capture and utilization.

Graphical abstract: Flexible lithium–CO2 battery with ultrahigh capacity and stable cycling

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Article information

18 May 2018
03 Sep 2018
First published
26 Sep 2018

Energy Environ. Sci., 2018,11, 3231-3237
Article type

Flexible lithium–CO2 battery with ultrahigh capacity and stable cycling

S. Xu, C. Chen, Y. Kuang, J. Song, W. Gan, B. Liu, E. M. Hitz, J. W. Connell, Y. Lin and L. Hu, Energy Environ. Sci., 2018, 11, 3231
DOI: 10.1039/C8EE01468J

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