ORNL Invention to Innovation Webinar 4: Lithium Batteries

ORNL_outline(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the next in a series of webinars that Oak Ridge National Laboratory is hosting to provide overviews of various inventions and highlights of specific commercial opportunities approaching market readiness.  Each webinar concludes with a roundtable session for Q&A and market feedback.)


Featured Technology: Low-cost Carbon Black Composite Anode for Lithium Batteries

August 7, 2014 at 2 p.m. EDT

Register here. 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) ORNL is one of the world’s premier centers for R&D on energy production, distribution, and use and on the effects of energy technologies and decisions on society.  Clean, efficient, safe production and use of energy have long been our goals in research and development.  At ORNL, unique facilities for energy-related R&D are used both for technology development and for fundamental investigations in the basic energy sciences that underpin the technology work.

One area of research is to create novel materials and systems for electrical energy storage, including a new process to generate carbon black that can be used in a variety of applications such as batteries.  ORNL researchers have developed a process to recover carbon black composites from powdered tire rubber.  In 2003 nearly 290 million scrap tires were generated in the United States; almost 80% of those waste rubber tires are recycled for various uses.  The waste tire rubber is usually cryogenically pulverized into micron-sized rubber particles or ground into a powder for use as filler in various low-cost rubber or plastic products.

The ORNL process digests the powdered tire rubber in a hot oleum bath before pyrolysis yields sulfonated rubber powder.  When the recovered hard carbons are treated properly before or during carbonization, they can yield very high surface area pyrolytic carbon black composites.  To avoid potential impurities such as metal particles in the carbon powder, the powdered rubber can be washed with an acid solution during the recovery process.  This carbon black-containing material can be incorporated in various applications including support systems for catalysts, water filtration, and incorporated in lithium ion batteries, supercapacitors, and sodium ion batteries


  • Jen Caldwell, Group Leader, Technology Commercialization
  • Parans Paranthaman, Distinguished Research Staff and Group Leader, Materials Chemistry Group

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