UNSW Sydney researchers have discovered a new use for automotive shredder residue (ASR). They propose hard carbons derived from ASR as an effective anode material for sodium-ion batteries (NIBs).
Why Hard Carbons?
The limitations of graphite as an anode material have led to the exploration of other carbonaceous materials. Hard carbons, with their high thermal stability, low cost, and availability, have gained significant attention. They consist of randomly oriented microdomains and loosely stacked graphene layers with larger interlayer spacing than graphite. This structure allows for easy storage of Na ions.
Hard Carbons vs. Soft Carbons and Graphite
Unlike hard carbons, soft carbons have fewer nanovoids and smaller interlayer spacing. This results in lower Na ion storage. Graphite’s orderly stacked graphene layer and lack of nanovoids limit its Na ion storage capacity. Hard carbons’ unique microstructure facilitates the sodiation/desodiation process in NIBs during electrochemical operation.
ASR: A Potential Source of Hard Carbons
End-of-life vehicles (ELVs) generate around 50 million tons of ASR annually. ASR contains plastic, rubber, wood, and other materials. By 2030, ASR production is projected to reach 9 million tons.
In the study, three carbon materials were synthesized from ASR at different temperatures. The hard carbon synthesized at 1100 ˚C showed superior electrochemical performance due to its improved structural and morphological properties.
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