Rubber meets the road with new ORNL carbon, battery technologies

August 27, 2014
ORNL researchers' goal is to scale up the recovery process and demonstrate applications as anodes for lithium-ion batteries in large-format pouch cells. Credit: ORNL

Recycled tires could see new life in lithium-ion batteries that provide power to plug-in electric vehicles and store energy produced by wind and solar, say researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

By modifying the microstructural characteristics of black, a substance recovered from discarded tires, a team led by Parans Paranthaman and Amit Naskar is developing a better anode for . An anode is a negatively charged electrode used as a host for storing lithium during charging.

The method, outlined in a paper published in the journal RSC Advances, has numerous advantages over conventional approaches to making anodes for lithium-ion batteries.

"Using waste tires for products such as energy storage is very attractive not only from the carbon materials recovery perspective but also for controlling environmental hazards caused by waste tire stock piles," Paranthaman said.

The ORNL technique uses a proprietary pretreatment 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.

In fact, after 100 cycles the capacity measures nearly 390 milliamp hours per gram of carbon anode, which exceeds the best properties of commercial graphite. Researchers attribute this to the unique microstructure of the tire-derived carbon.

"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," Paranthaman said.

Anodes are one of the leading battery components, with 11 to 15 percent of the materials market share, according to Naskar, who noted that the new method could eliminate a number of hurdles.

"This technology addresses the need to develop an inexpensive, environmentally benign carbon composite anode material with high-surface area, higher-rate capability and long-term stability," Naskar said.

Explore further: Inexpensive material boosts battery capacity

More information: "Tailored Recovery of Carbons from Waste Tires for Enhanced Performance as Anodes in Lithium-Ion Batteries," RSC Advances, pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/ra/c4ra03888f#!divAbstract

Related Stories

Inexpensive material boosts battery capacity

October 23, 2013

Battery-powered cars offer many environmental benefits, but a car with a full tank of gasoline can travel further. By improving the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries, a new electrode made from iron oxide nanoparticles ...

Battery development may extend range of electric cars

January 9, 2014

It's known that electric vehicles could travel longer distances before needing to charge and more renewable energy could be saved for a rainy day if lithium-sulfur batteries can just overcome a few technical hurdles. Now, ...

Charging portable electronics in 10 minutes

June 10, 2014

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a three-dimensional, silicon-decorated, cone-shaped carbon-nanotube cluster architecture for lithium ion battery anodes that ...

Engineering researchers develop next-generation battery

July 7, 2014

(Phys.org) —A research team from the University of Alberta has used carbon nanomaterials to develop next-generation batteries capable of charging faster and lasting longer than today's standard lithium-ion batteries.

Recommended for you

How to look for a few good catalysts

July 30, 2015

Two key physical phenomena take place at the surfaces of materials: catalysis and wetting. A catalyst enhances the rate of chemical reactions; wetting refers to how liquids spread across a surface.

Findings illuminate animal evolution in protein function

July 27, 2015

Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond researchers recently teamed up to explore the inner workings of cells and shed light on the 400–600 million years of evolution between humans and early animals ...

Yarn from slaughterhouse waste

July 29, 2015

ETH researchers have developed a yarn from ordinary gelatine that has good qualities similar to those of merino wool fibers. Now they are working on making the yarn even more water resistant.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

PPihkala
not rated yet Aug 28, 2014
Good thinking. Eliminate waste and develop good anode material at the same time.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.