Media Contact: Fred Strohl

ORNL team uses lignin to power green battery


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OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 16, 2013 -- Lignin is a waste material that is produced when paper is manufactured from wood.

Instead of disposing of the lignin, a research team at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has learned how to take the material and convert it into powering a green battery.

“We use a very low-cost melt processing technology in order to make a three-dimensional structure that can be converted into a battery material,” said Orlando Rios of ORNL’s Materials Science and Technology Division.

Rios said there are properties in the wood with cellular and nano-scale structures that resist change and provide the battery power capability.

“We take care of the structure and preserve it throughout the processing steps in order to end up with bulk material that has nano-scale performance and is easy to handle.” Rios said.

Existing technologies have enabled the ORNL team to reach the level where this green battery is currently being tested in the laboratory.

“You can use equipment that is already in our infrastructure,” Rios said. “This includes equipment that you make clothing with, heat treat parts with and other equipment that is compatible with this technology.”

The green battery work is published in the scientific journal Advanced Functional Materials at

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit <>.



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