Cheaper and more effective carbon black is set to come on to the market after a licensing agreement between the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory Group (ORNL) and scientific consultancy firm RJ Lee Group.
ORNL’s has developed a way of turning rubber sources, such as tyres, into carbon black composites through a proprietary pretreatment process invented by its researchers Amit Naskar, Parans Paranthaman and Zhonghe Bi.
A team, led by Paranthaman and Naskar, aims to use the carbon black to develop a better anode for lithium-ion batteries.
The development was first unveiled in August 2014 when ORNL researchers produced a small, laboratory-scale battery that was capable of maintaining nearly 390 milliamp hours per gram of carbon anode after 100 cycles.
When researchers tested the recovered carbon in anodes of lithium-ion batteries, the laboratory-scale coin cells also had faster charging rates than conventional graphite batteries, ORNL claim.
The ORNL team will collaborate with RJ Lee Group to further develop the technology through a privately funded sponsored research project.
“The next step is to scale up the production of the carbon materials so that we can replicate the lab-scale performance in larger format cells,” Paranthaman said.
The research on conversion of recycled tyres to graphite powders was funded by the laboratory’s Technology Innovation Program.
The evaluation of the new materials as novel battery electrodes was sponsored by DOE’s Office of Science.