You have got to love all those great inventions and technologies that tackle more than one pressing problem at the time, especially when they address pollution and energy storage. The latest technology that does exactly this comes from ORNL, where scientists made batteries out of old and unusable car tires.
The horrific image of an overflowing landfill site cannot be complete without the two essential items- millions of flying plastic bags and a bunch of old unusable car tires. Now, while a lot is currently being done to fight the careless disposal of the former, the latter item has managed to somehow escape the spotlight.
Thankfully, this is not for long, as a team of scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory managed to find a great use for the highly hazardous waste tires. Parans Paranthaman, the lead researcher, and fellows, were able to extract a graphite-like substance called carbon black, which has a great potential in improving the performance of anodes in lithium-ion batteries.
During the test trials, the batteries with carbon black anodes showed much higher reversible capacity compared to these with graphite-based anodes. According to the scientists, the reason for this is the modification of the microstructure of the carbon black.
The study was funded by the Department of Energy, and appears in the journal RSC Advances. There, the guys present how their invention could completely transform not only the renewable energy and EV battery industries, but also significantly reduce the amount of old tires being sent to landfills by turning them into batteries. On one hand, the technology is much cheaper and performs much better, and on the other hand, it makes use of unneeded materials.
The team is now currently working on scaling up the process of carbon black recovery and incorporating it in regular-size lithium ion batteries.
Image (c) ORNL