Old car tires may allow for improved batteries

Indian-origin scientists have found that carbon black, a substance recovered from discarded tires, can be used to make anodes for better-performing lithium-ion batteries.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 31, 2014, 13:44 PM IST

Washington: Indian-origin scientists have found that carbon black, a substance recovered from discarded tires, can be used to make anodes for better-performing lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed a method to modify the microstructural characteristics of carbon black to create a better anode for lithium-ion batteries.

A team led by Parans Paranthaman and Amit Naskar said 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 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 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.