The batteries in our keyboards, flashlights, or automobiles seem to provide silent, clean, and efficient power. But to perform their magic, batteries employ inorganic materials such as lithium and other metals—and these elements are unsustainable.

Finding and developing environmentally friendly battery materials is a growing venture. The image illustrates an experiment that combined forest-based nanocellulose, the organic red dye molecule alizarin, and conductive polymers to successfully fashion a battery with an impressive ability to hold an electric charge (>400 F g-1) and good stability (>1000 cycles). The alizarin, originally derived from plant roots and used historically to dye textiles, improves energy storage, while nanocellulose provides a nonporous and mechanically strong network for the polymers.

Thank you to 🇦🇺 Robert Brooke, PhD, co-founder of 🇸🇪, who created the illustration, which was used for the cover of the Advanced Sustainable Systems Journal, vol 8, issue 8, 2019. Robert describes himself as a “scientist by day, 3D modeler/graphic designer by night.”


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