Search Menu
Home Latest News Menu
Green Room

Finnish company, Stora Enso, create eco-friendly batteries from wood waste

The Lignode battery is made from lignin — one of the world's biggest renewable sources of carbon

  • Waiying Ho
  • 31 January 2023
Finnish company, Stora Enso, create eco-friendly batteries from wood waste

In addition to providing the air we breathe, trees are apparently a source of the energy we need. They're made up of 20-30% lignin — a polymer found in the cell walls of dry-land plants that’s also one of the world's biggest renewable sources of carbon.

Lignin originally acts as a binder and gives wood its stiffness and resistance to rotting. It can be obtained from pulp leftover from the paper and wood manufacturing process. Basically, it’s wood waste and some are trying to make the most out of it.

Enter Stora Enso — a Finnish pulp and paper manufacturer that’s one of the leading providers of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper. It has hired engineers to harness lignin for creating more sustainable batteries, as reported by the BBC.

So what exactly is the issue with batteries in the first place? "One of the challenges of today’s lithium-ion batteries is the use of graphite," mentions Stora Enso on their website. "Graphite is a fossil carbon which is either mined or made from other fossil-based materials. The extraction through mining is often also done under less than satisfactory conditions, with social and environmental consequences."

Read this next: The sound of the future? Speakers made from mushrooms

Stora Enso has joined forces with Swedish company, Northvolt, in creating the Lignode battery that’s considered as paving the way for the future of batteries.

Lignode is a hard carbon that is a bio-based alternative made from lignin, which is already being produced in millions of tonnes in Europe. The lignin component replaces the need for graphitic carbon in lithium-ion batteries, ultimately leading to less environmental impact due to the elimination of the mining process.

The result is a lithium-ion or sodium-ion battery that can be charged in eight minutes.

Read this next: Sound designers translate air pollution into music

The first step in creating Lignodee is to separate the lignin from the wood. Second, it gets refined into a fine carbon powder that serves as an active material for the battery’s negative anode. Electrode sheets and rolls are then produced using the hard carbon powder before finally getting combined with other components to form a lithium-ion battery.

“Most commonly side streams like lignin are burnt for energy, so by turning it into hard carbon we are making sure that more of the tree is put to good use,” explain Stora Enso.

With the increasing demands for electrification alongside awareness and efforts towards saving the planet, we’re definitely down for these “batteries of tomorrow”.

Learn more about Stora Enso’s Lignode battery in the video below.

Load the next article