– Indeed, this has been a long adventure, and it is not yet finished, says Professor Xavier Crispin, Linköping University.
He tells that it started many years ago when Professor Olle Inganäs (now retired) made the discovery that it is possible to use lignin in energy storage when it is combined at the molecular level with an electrically conducting polymers. This discovery was published in Science in 2011 and was the start of the research that then came to include also Xavier’s research group and the research group by Professor Magnus Bergren.
In 2017, the three professors founded the company Ligna Energy, which continues to have close cooperation with the researchers at Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University. While the company is developing the industrial processes and application, the fundamental research questions are adressed within WWSC.
– Today, we want to come back to the fine chemical details of lignin and understand more about the fundame ntal properties, says Xavier.
– The possibilities of collaboration that WWSC offers is here a key, and we are for instance collaborating with Olena Sevastyanova at KTH.
Professor Xavier Crispin gives example of how the research and collaboration with Ligna Energy works and how collaboration with industry can drive fundamental research forward:
The four publications below have been done within the WWSC and are part of the technology maturing at Ligna Energy AB.
We started with lignin combined with conducting polymers:
Adv. Sustainable Syst. 2019, 3, 1900039. https://doi.org/10.1002/adsu.201900039
Then it was too expensive for industrial application, so we shifted to conducting carbon and lignin
ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2020, 8, 17933−17944; https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.0c05397
Then we introduced the lignin-carbon electrode in the first “working” aqueous organic battery
Adv. Energy Sustainability Res., 3: 2100165; https://doi.org/10.1002/aesr.202100165
Then we demonstrated the possibility to print the lignin-carbon batteries thanks to a new polymer electrolyte. Journal of Power Sources, 524, 2022, 231103; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpowsour.2022.231103