When tires reach the end of their first life, serving vehicles; their second life begins as a recycling agent for road paving, plastic additives and other useful materials. However, a large portion of the old and damaged tires are seen as an opportunity for finding new applications for wasted rubber.
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA have created a battery from recycled tires which provides two advantages at the same time; first, researchers were able to develop a technique for extracting and processing black carbon from the used tires. This black carbon is needed for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries. Second, the overall manufacturing cost of the battery made from recycled tires is reduced.
The black carbon is not naturally present in the tires, hence they need to be chemically processed to use black carbon instead of graphite in anode of the battery. The method includes crushing the tire, chemically processing to obtain a chemical product which is then burned through pyrolysis. After this, black carbon is extracted out; a replacement for graphite and reduction in manufacturing is cost. This extracted black carbon can also be used in water filtration, gas absorption and storage applications.
Professor Parans Paranthaman, a member of the team in charge of the project, explains: “The use of scrap tires for products such as energy storage is very attractive not only in terms of recovery carbon, but also to control environmental hazards caused by tire waste.”
He also added, “This kind of performance is highly encouraging, especially in light of the fact that the global battery market for vehicles and military applications is approaching $78 billion and the materials market is expected to hit $11 billion in 2018.”
A prototype of lithium-ion battery has been successfully tested in the laboratory. The initial results showed that it had more capacity than the other commercially available graphite batteries. There has been no date announced for the final release of the product but researchers are trying to make their technology available to industrial partners for the production of lithium-ion batteries.
These batteries recycled from tires can find their usage in automobile, stationary storage, medical and military applications.