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Quick Take: Turning Old Tires Into Batteries

October 7, 2015

“If we were to recycle all of the scrap tires, that would translate into 1.5 million tons of carbon, which is half of the annual global production of graphite.” – Yury Gogotsi

Old Tires 

Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Drexel University’s College of Engineering have figured out a way to turn the rubber from old tires into material that can store energy. The research, which was recently published in the journal ChemSusChem suggests that about 50 percent of the mass of a tire could be converted to carbon powder that can be used in batteries and supercapacitors.

The process, which entails pretreating the tires and heating them in a special tube-shaped furnace then depositing the resultant carbon on a thin film, could aid in recycling some of the nearly 300 million tires that are discarded annually in the United States.

In addition to Yury Gogotsi, PhD, Distinguished University and Trustee Chair professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and director of the Drexel Nanomaterials Institute, co-authors of the paper include Muhammad Boota, a doctoral candidate in Gogotsi’s lab, and Amit Naskar, Yunchao Li, Kokooubi Akato, and Parans Paranthaman, researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.