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Researchers build a battery from scrap metal and waste material

Scientists from Switzerland have found a way to produce durable and inexpensive batteries from graphite waste and scrap metal. However, the development is still at an early stage.

07 Nov. 2017
Michael Triadan
Kish-Graphit Batterieforschung
Researchers build a battery from scrap metal and waste material (picture: Empa)

In developing the new battery type , researchers turned the operating principle of a conventional lithium-ion battery upside down: Whereas the anode in conventional batteries is made of graphite, in the new development this material is used in the cathode. Graphite waste resulting from the production of steel is particularly suitable for this purpose. Natural, coarsely ground graphite can also be used in the cathode. The anode in this new battery type is made of metal.

The scientists at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research Empa and ETH Zürich have already tested the new development over the course of several months: The test system withstood several thousand charging cycles under laboratory conditions. Researchers expect the batteries could run for decades in usage scenarios typical of private households.

Universities elsewhere are also trying to address the growing need for fast-charging, long-lasting rechargeable batteries. For example, a very durable battery that can apparently be recharged in only three minutes was built at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.