The industrial lignin used here is a byproduct from Kraft pulp mills, extracted from black liquor. Since lignin is inexpensive, abundant and renewable, its utilization has attracted more and more attention. In this work, lignin was used for the first time as binder material for LiFePO4
positive and graphite negative electrodes in Li-ion batteries. A procedure for pretreatment of lignin, where low-molecular fractions were removed by leaching, was necessary to obtain good battery performance. The lignin was analyzed for molecular mass distribution and thermal behavior prior to and after the pretreatment. Electrodes containing active material, conductive particles and lignin were cast on metal foils, acting as current collectors and characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and galvanostatic charge-discharge cycles. Good reversible capacities were obtained, 148 mAh·g−1
for the positive electrode and 305 mAh·g−1
for the negative electrode. Fairly good rate capabilities were found for both the positive electrode with 117 mAh·g−1
and the negative electrode with 160 mAh·g−1
at 1C. Low ohmic resistance also indicated good binder functionality. The results show that lignin is a promising candidate as binder material for electrodes in eco-friendly Li-ion batteries.
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