Biomass derived carbon materials have been widely used as electrode materials; however, in most cases, only electrical double layer capacitance (EDLC) is utilized and therefore, only low energy density can be achieved. Herein, we report on redox-active carbon spheres that can be simply synthesized from earth-abundant glucose via a hydrothermal process. These carbon spheres exhibit a specific capacity of ∼210 mA h gCS-1, with high redox potentials in the voltage range of 2.2-3.7 V vs. Li, when used as positive electrode in lithium cells. Free-standing, flexible composite films consisting of the carbon spheres and few-walled carbon nanotubes deliver high specific capacities up to ∼155 mA h gelectrode-1 with no obvious capacity fading up to 10000 cycles, proposing to be promising positive electrodes for lithium-ion batteries or capacitors. Furthermore, considering that the carbon spheres were obtained in an aqueous glucose solution and no toxic or hazardous reagents were used, this process opens up a green and sustainable method for designing high performance, environmentally-friendly energy storage devices.
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