Under the skin: is the waste from the paper industry the gain of the automotive world? Car News

Over the past two decades, industry analysts have tried to predict future trends in alternative propulsion through “technology roadmaps”. Most were similar, predicting battery electric vehicles in cities and a growth in hybrids eventually giving way at some point in the future to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as a longer range option.

They are not far off, except that the BEVs have far exceeded expectations; but the last part has yet to be revealed, and there’s always the prospect that just around the corner there might be the big one: the renewable, sustainable, carbon neutral, and hassle-free daddy of everyone.

So far the talk has mostly focused on the technology that can be, but what if it’s always been a red herring and the real possibilities don’t lie in just creating more efficient and affordable technology, but also in the discovery of new materials and known? We know that revolutionary solid-state batteries based on new materials technology are likely to emerge in the next few years, but what else?

Last year, we reviewed in this column the development of metallo-organic structures by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Lamborghini for use in supercapacitors to increase energy density. If it works, the result could be a cross between a super capacitor and a battery, to charge and discharge much faster than any conventional battery while still providing decent run time.

Lignin is a by-product of the paper industry and tens of millions of tonnes are produced each year, most of which are burned for energy. In its natural habitat, it occupies the spaces between the cell walls of plants and has been described as what makes a plant “woody”, resistant to pests and weathering. It also has many other potential uses. As one of the most abundant natural polymers on the planet, lignin is renewable, and interest in it is increasing in a range of areas related to cars.

Today’s carbon-based supercapacitors are expensive, but recently scientists at Imperial College London found they could use lignin to replace the graphene-based carbon used in today’s supercapacitors. hui. Lignin-derived material can store more electrical energy for a given volume than carbon-based components and is cheaper.

The Finnish company Stora Enso is piloting the production of a durable replacement graphite for lithium-ion battery anodes made from lignin. Range and performance are as much about weight reduction as it is about power and energy storage.

Stora Enso is also working with fiber maker Cordenka to develop carbon fiber from renewable lignin rather than the existing petroleum-based polyacrylonitrile (PAN).

Additionally, as part of the four-year Libre project, which ended in 2020, scientists from the German Textiles and Fibers Research Institute (DITF) successfully used lignin as a sustainable raw material for greatly reduce the cost of carbon fiber.

It seems that the drive to cut carbon emissions has sparked a huge push to find innovative ways to use sustainable materials in ways no one could have predicted a few years ago.

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This notice was published: 2021-07-11 23:01:25

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