Lignin is a waste material that is produced when paper is manufactured from wood.

Instead of disposing of the lignin, a research team at the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has learned how to take the material and convert it into powering a green battery.

“We use a very low-cost melt processing technology in order to make a 3-D structure that can be converted into a battery material,” said Orlando Rios of ORNL’s Materials Science and Technology Div.

Rios said there are properties in the wood with cellular and nanoscale structures that resist change and provide the battery power capability.

“We take care of the structure and preserve it throughout the processing steps in order to end up with bulk material that has nanoscale performance and is easy to handle.” Rios said.

Existing technologies have enabled the ORNL team to reach the level where this green battery is currently being tested in the laboratory.

“You can use equipment that is already in our infrastructure,” Rios said. “This includes equipment that you make clothing with, heat treat parts with and other equipment that is compatible with this technology.”

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory