Batteries from trees: Stora Enso looks to produce anode materials from lignin

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In Finland, Stora Enso is investing €10 million (USD$11.2 million) to build a pilot plant for lignin-based battery materials at the company’s Sunila Mill.

“Using wood-based lignin for technical carbon material offers an exciting opportunity… We will target the rapidly growing battery market in which companies are looking for high-quality, attractively priced and sustainable materials,” says Markus Mannström, Executive Vice President of Stora Enso’s Biomaterials division.

The company already uses lignin materials to replace fossil-based phenols for adhesives. With the new investment, Stora Enso will pilot the processing of lignin into a carbon intermediate for electrode materials. This lignin will be converted into carbon anode materials for lithium-ion batteries with properties similar to graphite. Such batteries are used daily in mobile phones and similar portable devices, power tools, electric vehicles, etc.

Construction of the pilot plant will begin by year-end and is expected to be completed by early 2021.