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  1. Earth-abundant, cost-effective electrode materials are essential for sustainable rechargeable batteries and global decarbonization. Manganese dioxide (MnO2) and hard carbon both exhibit high structural and chemical tunability, making them excellent electrode candidates for batteries. Herein, we elucidate the impact of electrolytes on the cycling performance of commercial electrolytic manganese dioxide in Li chemistry. We leverage synchrotron X-ray analysis to discern the chemical state and local structural characteristics of Mn during cycling, as well as to quantify the Mn deposition on the counter electrode. By using an ether-based electrolyte instead of conventional carbonate electrolytes, we circumvent the formation of a surface Mn(II)-layer and Mn dissolution from LixMnO2. Consequently, we achieved an impressive ∼100% capacity retention for MnO2after 300 cycles at C/3. To create a lithium metal-lean full cell, we introduce hard carbon as the anode which is compatible with ether-based electrolytes. Commercial hard carbon delivers a specific capacity of ∼230 mAh g−1at 0.1 A g−1without plateau, indicating a surface-adsorption mechanism. The resulting manganese dioxide||hard carbon full cell exhibits stable cycling and high Coulombic efficiency. Our research provides a promising solution to develop cost-effective, scalable, and safe energy storage solutions using widely available manganese oxide and hard carbon materials.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 27, 2025
  2. Pataro, Gianpiero ; López-Caballero, Elvira ; Vecino, Xanel (Ed.)

    Food waste is a major issue that is increasingly affecting our environment. More than one-third of food is wasted, resulting in over $400 billion in losses to the U.S. economy. While composting and other small recycling practices are encouraged from person-to-person, it is not enough to balance the net loss of 80 million tons per year. Currently, one of the most promising routes for reducing food waste is through microbial fermentation, which can convert the waste into valuable bioproducts. Among the compounds produced from fermentation, 2,3-butanediol (2,3-BDO) has gained interest recently due to its molecular structure as a building block for many other derivatives used in perfumes, synthetic rubber, fumigants, antifreeze agents, fuel additives, and pharmaceuticals. Waste feedstocks, such as food waste, are a potential source of renewable energy due to their lack of cost and availability. Food waste also possesses microbial requirements for growth such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and more. However, food waste is highly inconsistent and the variability in composition may hinder its ability to be a stable source for bioproducts such as 2,3-BDO. This current study focuses specifically on post-consumer food waste and how 2,3-BDO can be produced through a non-model organism, Bacillus licheniformis YNP5-TSU during non-sterile fermentation. From the dining hall at Tennessee State University, 13 food waste samples were collected over a 6-month period and the compositional analysis was performed. On average, these samples consisted of fat (19.7%), protein (18.7%), ash (4.8%), fiber (3.4%), starch (27.1%), and soluble sugars (20.9%) on a dry basis with an average moisture content of 34.7%. Food waste samples were also assessed for their potential production of 2,3-BDO during non-sterile thermophilic fermentation, resulting in a max titer of 12.12 g/L and a 33% g/g yield of 2,3-BDO/carbohydrates. These findings are promising and can lead to the better understanding of food waste as a defined feedstock for 2,3-BDO and other fermentation end-products.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  3. Abstract

    Lithium‐ion batteries (LIBs) are increasingly encouraged to enhance their environmental friendliness and safety while maintaining optimal energy density and cost‐effectiveness. Although various electrolytes using greener and safer glyme solvents have been reported, the low charge voltage (usually lower than 4.0 V vs Li/Li+) restricts the energy density of LIBs. Herein, tetraglyme, a less‐toxic, non‐volatile, and non‐flammable ether solvent, is exploited to build safer and greener LIBs. It is demonstrated that ether electrolytes, at a standard salt concentration (1 m), can be reversibly cycled to 4.5 V vs Li/Li+. Anchored with Boron‐rich cathode‐electrolyte interphase (CEI) and mitigated current collector corrosion, the LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2(NMC811) cathode delivers competitive cyclability versus commercial carbonate electrolytes when charged to 4.5 V. Synchrotron spectroscopic and imaging analyses show that the tetraglyme electrolyte can sufficiently suppress the overcharge behavior associated with the high‐voltage electrolyte decomposition, which is advantageous over previously reported glyme electrolytes. The new electrolyte also enables minimal transition metal dissolution and deposition. NMC811||hard carbon full cell delivers excellent cycling stability at C/3 with a high average Coulombic efficiency of 99.77%. This work reports an oxidation‐resilient tetraglyme electrolyte with record‐high 4.5 V stability and enlightens further applications of glyme solvents for sustainable LIBs by designing Boron‐rich interphases.

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  4. Abstract

    Benefiting from abundant resource reserves and considerable theoretical capacity, sodium (Na) metal is a strong anode candidate for low‐cost, large‐scale energy storage applications. However, extensive volume change and mossy/dendritic growth during Na electrodeposition have impeded the practical application of Na metal batteries. Herein, a self‐sodiophilic carbon host, lignin‐derived carbon nanofiber (LCNF), is reported to accommodate Na metal through an infiltration method. Na metal is completely encapsulated in the 3D space of the LCNF host, where the strong interaction between LCNF and Na metal is mediated by the self‐sodiophilic sites. The resulting LCNF@Na electrode delivers good cycling stability with a low voltage hysteresis and a dendrite‐free morphology in commercial carbonate‐based electrolytes. When interfaced with O3‐NaNi0.33Mn0.33Fe0.33O2and P2‐Na0.7Ni0.33Mn0.55Fe0.1Ti0.02O2cathodes in full cell Na metal batteries, the LCNF@Na electrode enables high capacity retentions, long cycle life, and good rate capability. Even in a “lean” Na anode environment, the full cells can still deliver good electrochemical performance. The overall stable battery performance, based on a self‐sodiophilic, biomass‐derived carbon host, illuminates a promising path towards enabling low‐cost Na metal batteries.

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