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With the world having an increasing appetite for energy, it won’t take long before current resources won’t be able satisfy this increasing demand. That is why there are now many researchers who are looking through alternative sources of energy, most notably those in the area of “green” or environment-friendly power sources. Scientists may have found another possible energy alternative when it comes to energy sourced out from batteries. This new green battery sources its power from an ancient red dye.

Chemists hailing from the City College of New York along with researchers from the US Army Research Laboratory have developed a new type of sustainable lithium ion battery that is powered by purpurin, an ancient red dye extracted from the roots of the madder plant. As lithium ion batteries are increasingly used to power up a host of portable devices, this new “green battery” may find itself as a viable green alternative to the current lithium ion batteries available in the current market.

Conventional lithium ion batteries rely on limited supplies of metal ore such as cobalt. Creating the raw materials into the lithium ion batteries in the market require costly energy to produce and manufacture. With the discovery of purpurin as a viable alternative will result in energy savings during manufacture as well as provide a natural alternative with a material that exists in nature.

Purpurin is extracted from the roots of the madder plant. It is a dye that comes with biologically based color molecules. Scientists have discovered that such dyes are pre-adapted to act as a battery electrode that allows electrons from going back and forth, producing electricity. Purpurin comes with electron-rich molecules that easily coordinate with lithium, making it a good alternative to use in green batteries.

Even making the purpurin electrode is considered easier and requires less energy to do so. Manufacturing the said green battery for commercial use may not be afar of as the researchers are looking into improving the purpurin’s efficiency as an alternative electrode.

Source: City College of New York

 
 

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