Iron-based energy storage materials from carbon dioxide and scrap metal†
The need for sustainable energy storage materials is extremely relevant today, given the increase in demand for energy storage and net zero carbon commitments made recently by multiple countries. In this study, scrap mild steel and carbon dioxide were utilised to synthesise ferrous oxalates, and the feasibility of using ferrous oxalate to store energy and carbon was investigated. Since transition metal oxalates are commonly used as precursors to oxides in the context of energy storage materials, the properties and performance of anhydrous ferrous oxalate were compared with those of iron oxides synthesised from ferrous oxalate. Hydrated ferrous oxalate was synthesised electrochemically from carbon dioxide and scrap mild steel. Subsequent heat treatment of the hydrated material at different temperatures, in both N2 and air, produced anhydrous ferrous oxalate and iron oxides. The products were characterised, carbon content analysed, and their electrochemical performances as negative electrode materials in lithium-ion batteries were investigated. Results indicated that anhydrous ferrous oxalate exhibited the highest gravimetric discharge capacities (810 mA h g−1), and the highest carbon content (0.28 g A h−1) when cycled at 100 mA g−1. Although the carbon content is low relative to graphite, this study demonstrates that there may be value in further investigating transition metal oxalates as sustainable energy storage materials.