Replacing metals with organic materials in batteries
University of New Brunswick
To face the challenge of climate change, our increasingly environmentally conscious society is seeking advanced energy systems which may help taper and eventually supplant our fossil fuel systems. In order to successfully displace fossil fuels, such systems need to be both economical and more environmentally-friendly. For batteries, much of the cost and environmental impact is caused by the use of metals in their various components. Organic materials may offer a solution to the necessity for metals, thanks to the development of many novel organic materials with select metallic properties. In the first part of this thesis, a conductive polymer paper composite was explored for application in lithium ion batteries as a current collector to supplant conventional aluminum foil current collectors. Higher current capacities and improved voltage efficiencies were obtained in cells utilizing the conductive composite compared to cells using aluminum as current collectors. However, the cells using conductive composite suffered from rapid deterioration in current capacity and operating voltage, becoming worse in performance compared to the aluminum current collector cells in less than 50 consecutive charge/discharge cycles. In the second part, alkyl substituted bispyridinium salts were synthesized with substantially improved solubility in dimethylformamide. The improved solubility could allow for higher loadings of the bispyridinium salts in the anolyte solutions of all-organic flow batteries, thereby increasing the energy densities that could be attained in these systems. In addition, four environmentally-sensitive bis-pyridinylidene compounds were also successfully isolated for the first time.