ERJ staff report (PR)
Oak Ridge, Tennessee - US researchers have developed technology to convert scrap tires into material that can improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and wind- and solar-energy units.
By modifying the microstructural characteristics of carbon black recovered from waste tires, the team at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) believes it can provide a better anode for lithium-ion batteries.
The process is said to offer advantages over conventional approaches to making anodes - negatively charged electrodes used as a host for storing lithium during charging.
ORNL's technique uses a proprietary pre-treatment to recover pyrolytic carbon black material, which is similar to graphite but man-made.
When used in anodes of lithium-ion batteries, researchers produced a small, laboratory-scale battery with a reversible capacity that is higher than what is possible with commercial graphite materials. This is attributed to the unique microstructure of the tire-derived carbon.
After 100 cycles, the capacity measures nearly 390 milliamp hours per gram of carbon anode. This, said the US researchers, exceeds the best properties of commercial graphite.
“This kind of performance is highly encouraging, especially in light of the fact that the global battery market for vehicles and military applications is approaching $78 billion and the materials market is expected to hit $11 billion in 2018,” Parans Paranthaman of the project team.
ORNL said it plans to work with US industry to license this technology and produce lithium-ion cells for automotive, stationary storage, medical and military applications.