A common tattoo chemical for energy storage: henna plant-derived naphthoquinone dimer as a green and sustainable cathode material for Li-ion batteries
The burgeoning energy demands of an increasingly eco-conscious population have spurred the need for sustainable energy storage devices, and have called into question the viability of the popular lithium ion battery. A series of natural polyaromatic compounds have previously displayed the capability to bind lithium via polar oxygen-containing functional groups that act as redox centers in potential electrodes. Lawsone, a widely renowned dye molecule extracted from the henna leaf, can be dimerized to bislawsone to yield up to six carbonyl/hydroxyl groups for potential lithium coordination. The facile one-step dimerization and subsequent chemical lithiation of bislawsone minimizes synthetic steps and toxic reagents compared to existing systems. We therefore report lithiated bislawsone as a candidate to advance non-toxic and recyclable green battery materials. Bislawsone based electrodes displayed a specific capacity of up to 130 mA h g−1 at 20 mA g−1 currents, and voltage plateaus at 2.1–2.5 V, which are comparable to modern Li-ion battery cathodes.