A new scientific development is underway which could help make the battery industry more sustainable. Current lithium ion batteries can be ethically and environmentally problematic. Only a small percentage of lithium ion batteries are recycled and the cobalt needed to make them is mined using child labor in some cases. New research in Nature has described a new battery technology platform which involves a poypeptide organic radical construction. Scientists are currently working to develop this completely metal-free battery, which marks significant progress towards a sustainable and recyclable model. A new metal-free battery platform could lead to more sustainable, recyclable batteries that degrade on demand. The introduction of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries has revolutionized technology as a whole, leading to major advances in consumer goods across nearly all sectors. While the availability of technology is generally a good thing, the rapid growth has led directly to several key ethical and environmental issues surrounding the use of Li-ion batteries. Current Li-ion batteries use significant amounts of cobalt, which in several well-documented international cases is mined using child labor in dangerous working environments. Additionally, only a very small percentage of Li-ion batteries are recycled, increasing the demand for cobalt and other strategic elements. […]

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