The Research Team of Prof. Jun Chen makes Breakthrough in the Research of “High-capacity Aqueous Zinc Batteries Using Sustainable Quinone Electrodes” 2018.03.23

Quinone electrodes in aqueous ZBs

With the increasing proportion of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources in energy structural adjustment and energy distribution, rechargeable battery featuring low-cost and high-performance is vital for regulating the energy output of intermittent renewable energy. Recently, the research team of Prof. Jun Chen from Nankai University’s College of Chemistry makes breakthrough in the research of “High-capacity Aqueous Zinc Batteries Using Sustainable Quinone Electrodes”. The research studied the application of quinone electrodes in aqueous zinc batteries. This material has the advantage of low cost, easy preparation, high cycle stability, high energy density, safety and reliability, which becomes an alternative for major applications such as electric vehicle, energy storage. Related results have been published on Science Advances by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Prof. Jun Chen serves as the corresponding author.

Compared with inorganic electrodes, organic electrodes contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and other inexpensive elements, so it is light, environmental-friendly, designable for synthesis and preparation, and attractive in the field of electrochemical energy-storage. Particularly, more than 2400 kinds of quinones have been discovered from angiosperms, fungi, marine animals, and insects. Inspired by nature, many artificial quinone compounds have also been designed for applications in medicineand organism electron/ion transfer. In the animal and human body, quinonecoenzyme is considered as an activating agent for cell respiration and metabolism.

Quinone electrodes in aqueous ZBs

The research team of Prof. Jun Chen has been dedicated to the design, preparation and application of organic quinone electrodes. Recently, through reasonable design, they succeed in applying quinone compounds in the aquaeouszince batteries. Through the comparison of series of quinone compounds, the team discovered that calixquinone (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. Its cycle stability can be compared with inorganic electrodes.


FTIR characterization of quinone electrodes.

Meanwhile, the team has also innovatively applied operando spectral techniques such as IR, Raman, and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopies to the study and deduction of the active sites and structural changes of organic electrodes in the battery reactions, which has expanded the electrochemical approaches for combining the theory and experiment. It has also constructed the pouch zinc batteries, which can deliver an energy density of 220 Wh kg−1 by mass of both a C4Q cathode and a theoretical Zn anode, far exceeding that of commercial aqueous lead-acid batteries and can be fairly compared to the current commercial lithium batteries.

Reported by Chao MA

Translated by Yuchen Shi

Proofread by Ruoyan Yan

Nankai University

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