High-capacity aqueous zinc batteries using sustainable quinone electrodes

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Science Advances  02 Mar 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 3, eaao1761
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao1761


Quinones, which are ubiquitous in nature, can act as sustainable and green electrode materials but face dissolution in organic electrolytes, resulting in fast fading of capacity and short cycle life. We report that quinone electrodes, especially calix[4]quinone (C4Q) in rechargeable metal zinc batteries coupled with a cation-selective membrane using an aqueous electrolyte, exhibit a high capacity of 335 mA h g−1 with an energy efficiency of 93% at 20 mA g−1 and a long life of 1000 cycles with a capacity retention of 87% at 500 mA g−1. The pouch zinc batteries with a respective depth of discharge of 89% (C4Q) and 49% (zinc anode) can deliver an energy density of 220 Wh kg−1 by mass of both a C4Q cathode and a theoretical Zn anode. We also develop an electrostatic potential computing method to demonstrate that carbonyl groups are active centers of electrochemistry. Moreover, the structural evolution and dissolution behavior of active materials during discharge and charge processes are investigated by operando spectral techniques such as IR, Raman, and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopies. Our results show that batteries using quinone cathodes and metal anodes in aqueous electrolyte are reliable approaches for mass energy storage.

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