Battery manufacturers around the world are looking for greener materials to make battery technology greener. Stora Enso has developed a non-toxic wood-based bioaccumulative material, which is a by-product of the pulp production at the Stora Enso plant. The material, based on lignin(Lignode), could serve as an alternative to fossil graphite, which is traditionally used in batteries, according to the company. According to the company, lignin could radically change the traditional battery industry.
Lignin is renewable and is already being processed in millions of tons worldwide. Graphite is considered the second largest contributor to CO2 emissions from battery cell manufacturing. Thanks to the renewable raw material wood, lignin-based anodes can be a solution for battery manufacturers to achieve CO2 neutral or even negative emissions.
The anode is one of the key components of batteries. Their total weight in an electric car battery is between 50 and 80 kilograms. Trees, on the other hand, are 20-30 percent lignin, which is the binder that makes the wood tough and resistant to rot. A huge amount of lignin is a by-product of pulp production, but so far it has mostly been burned for energy. Stora Enso, the world's largest producer of lignin, has developed a process to turn it into solid carbon for batteries.
“Stora Enso can supply active anode materials for lithium-ion batteries based on renewable tree lignin. The use of lignin does not increase the number of trees cut, but it creates additional value from them,” said Lignodes Head of Stora Enso.