Scientists from NTU Singapore have found a way to transform wasted paper into an essential component of lithium-ion batteries
Spotted: Paper waste clogs up our landfills. It is so ubiquitous, in fact, that paper accounts for around 26 per cent of all landfill waste around the world. But, as sustainability-driven innovators are keen to prove, this surplus of paper waste provides opportunities. Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, for example, have shown that single-use packaging, bags, and cardboard boxes can be used to make components for lithium-ion batteries.
In order to upcycle the paper, the NTU researchers first exposed it to high temperatures, reducing it to pure carbon. After this carbonisation process, the team then turned the fibres from the paper into electrodes, which can then be used in rechargeable batteries that can power electric vehicles or smartphones.
Traditionally, this part of a battery that stores electricity is forged from fossil fuels. But replacing this with the recycled paper alternative can alleviate the need for fossil fuels while cutting down on the overall cost.
The NTU team has recently filed for a patent with the University’s innovation and enterprise arm – NTUitive – and is aiming for commercialisation within the next five years.
Written By: Georgia King