A huge byproduct in the papermaking sector is a sulfonated waste material from carbon. This material is known as lignosulfonate, which is naturally combusted on site, letting go CO2 into the environment. This happens after sulfur has been confined for reuse.
Now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s scientists have designed a way to employ this abundant and cheap paper biomass to create a rechargeable Li-sulfur battery. This type of battery can be employed to fuel huge data hubs as well as offer a reasonably priced energy-storage alternative for the conventional electric grid as well as microgrids.
“Our study shows the possibility of employing byproducts from industrial paper-mill to design low-cost and sustainable electrode substances for Li-sulfur batteries,” claimed a Rensselaer researcher who designed the tech at the CFES (Center for Future Energy Systems) with his colleagues, Trevor Simmons, to the media in an interview. He has patented the procedure with Rahul Mukherjee, the former graduate student.
Rechargeable Li-ion batteries presently are the leading battery tech. In recent times, on the other hand, much interest has developed around designing Li-sulfur batteries. These batteries can have more than 2 times the power of their Li-ion peers of the similar mass.
Two electrodes are present in a rechargeable battery namely a negative anode and a positive cathode. A liquid electrolyte is placed in between the electrodes, which serves as a mean for the chemical processes that generate electricity. In a Li-sulfur battery, the anode is made from lithium metal oxide and the cathode is made of a sulfur-carbon matrix.
Sulfur is nonconductive in its elemental shape, but when merged with carbon at high temperatures, it turns highly conductive, permitting it to be employed in novel battery techs. The hurdle, on the other hand, is that sulfur can simply disband into the electrolyte of a battery, resulting in the electrodes on either side to wear out after just a handful of cycles.