Recycling Tires for Battery Anodes

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Old tires are hard to get rid of, and left in small mountains in salvage yards, can self-incinerate, causing massive clouds of dangerous smoke and lakes of toxic goo. Fires can last for months, virtually unassailable by fire fighters. Some still structurally sound tires can be re-treaded and gain a new life on the road.  Others, well past their usable life, are shredded and added to an asphalt mix to have a new life as the road. They might also end up lithium-ion batteries.  According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, “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. By modifying the microstructural …

Corncobs as a Source of Supercapacitors?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Researchers at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois report, “that wood-biochar supercapacitors can produce as much power as today’s activated-carbon supercapacitors at a fraction of the cost – and with environmentally friendly byproducts.” Junhua Jiang, senior research engineer at the Center, has been reducing wood and cellulose products such as corncobs to biochar by heating the fibers in a reduced oxygen environment.  This pyrolysis process creates a  porous, black substance that can be used as electrodes in supercapacitors.  While other researchers use carbon black or more advanced forms of carbon such as nanotubes, this more humble approach yields equal or better performance at a fraction of the cost of the more labor-intensive methods.  Many of the alternatives obtain …