Researchers from Uppsala University have created a cellulose-polypyrrole composite electrode material with the highest reported charge rate and capacity for nonmetal batteries.
This work, reported in Nano Letters, significantly enhances the performance of polypyrrole (PPy), a conductive polymer, by layering it thinly over a large surface area substrate. In this case, the highly porous cellulose fibers of Cladophora algae--with 100 times the surface area of terrestrial cellulose--is coated with a 50nm layer of PPy.
The authors report that, "The composite conductive paper material is shown to have a specific surface area of 80 m2 g−1 and batteries based on this material can be charged with currents as high as 600 mA cm−2 with only 6% loss in capacity over 100 subsequent charge and discharge cycles."
This composite material offers a lightweight, environmentally-friendly, cost-efficient, and scalable alterntative to metal batteries. While polymer batteries have numerous applications in clothing and textiles, this novel paper-based all polymer battery has an even wider range of potential applications.
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Image: TEM image of the cellulose composite fiber. Reproduced with permission from Nystrom G, Razaq A, Stromme M, Nyholm L, and Mihranyan A. 2009. "Ultra-fast All Polymer Paper-based Batteries." Nano Letters Article ASAP, 9 September 2009. DOI: 10.1021/nl901852h. Copyright 2009 American Chemical Society.