Sugarcane waste yields carbon for use in batteries

Researchers from Pune’s National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) have used a simple, cost-effective and quick process to convert sugarcane bagasse into anode-grade porous, conducting, activated carbon material for use in Li-ion batteries.

While making anode-grade carbon is currently very expensive and time-consuming, the Pune researchers were able to produce high-quality carbon within minutes by using a low power microwave system. The results of the study were published on July 5 in the journal Electrochimica Acta.

The quality of carbon used for electrodes depends on the choice of precursors and the process used for converting the precursors into carbon. Anode-grade carbon is generally produced through decomposition at nearly 1000 degree Celsius.

“By using a simple kitchen microwave oven we achieved local heating and combustion to realise high quality factory-grade carbon materials within a few minutes,” says Prof. Satishchandra Ogale, the corresponding author from the Centre for Energy Science at IISER, Pune and formerly Chief Scientist, NCL, Pune.

“The process time to get anode-grade carbon is cut down dramatically. The electrical energy input is also reduced substantially,” Prof. Ogale says.