Battery Electrodes from Renewable Resources
Antioxidants in food protect the human body from unwanted oxidation processes and free radicals by being preferably oxidized themselves. We want to make use of this electrochemical activity and use plant antioxidants as electrode material in batteries.
Polyphenols are one important class of antioxidants. They are contained in relatively large amounts in several food items like green tea and grapes, but they also constitute biopolymers like lignin, which makes approximately one third of all plant biomass. In the colloid chemistry department, selective deconstruction of lignin has been investigated in the past. We use known approaches, and we develop new methods to use biopolymers and other polyphenols as electrode material in sustainable batteries.
In our group, we investigate how to maintain or even increase electrochemical activity (reaction chemistry and analytical chemistry), how to increase conductivity for usage as electrode material (blending with additives, methods of electrode manufacturing, quantification of conductivity), and how to optimize interactions with electrolyte systems (behavior in the presence of salts and solvents, chemical modification, crosslinking, blending and incorporation). In general our research is a combination of materials science, electrochemistry, physical chemistry and organic chemistry.