Researchers say a plant extract can be turned into a highly effective, natural cathode for lithium-ion batteries.
The madder plant, Rubia tinctorum, is a good source of purpurin, an organic dye that has been used on fabrics since ancient times.
Purpurin (above left) is extracted from madder root (center) and is chemically lithiated (right) for use as an organic cathode. The material was developed as a less expensive, easier-to-recycle alternative to cobalt oxide cathodes now used in lithium-ion batteries.
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Photo credit: Ajayan Group/Rice University