Rose madder, a natural plant dye once prized throughout the Old World to make fiery red textiles, might be cool once again. 

Chemists have developed a non-toxic and sustainable lithium-ion battery powered by purpurin, a dye extracted from the roots of the madder plant (Rubia species).

Over 3,500 years ago, civilizations in Asia and the Middle East first boiled madder roots to dye fabrics in orange, pink and red but the climbing herb might also lay the foundation for an eco-friendly alternative to traditional lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in the 21st century.  Lithium-ion batteries are great for consumers but costs to the environment for production, recycling and disposal are high.

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