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Charge Storage Capacity of Renewable Biopolymer/Conjugated Polymer Interpenetrating Networks Enhanced by Electroactive Dopants



Renewable materials are requested for large scale electrical storage, a coming necessity with the growth of intermittent solar and wind renewable electricity generation. Biopolymers are a source of inexpensive materials, in particular through the use of black liquor from paper production, a waste product. Interpenetrating networks of the biopolymer lignosulfonate (Lig) and conjugated polymer polypyrrole (Ppy) are synthesized by galvanostatic polymerization from pyrrole/lignosulfonate mixture in acidic aqueous electrolyte. Methoxy and phenolic functional group present in the non-conducting lignosulfonate are converted to quinone groups. The redox chemistry of quinones is used for charge storage, along with charge storage in polypyrrole. A large variation of the electrochemical activity between lignosulfonates obtained from different sources is observed. The charge storage capacities are significantly enhanced by also including another electroactive dopant, anthraquinone sulfonate (AQS). AQS redox peaks act as an internal reference (standard) to probe the redox electrochemistry of Lig. The synthesized Ppy(Lig) and Ppy(Lig-AQS) electrodes are characterized by cyclic voltammetry, galvanostatic charge-discharge cycling, electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance, and atomic force microscopy.