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Limitations of Disordered Carbons Obtained from Biomass as Anodes for Real Lithium-Ion Batteries

Authors

  • Dr. Alvaro Caballero,

    1. Departamento de Química Inorgánica e Ingeniería Química, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, Edificio Marie Curie, 14071 Córdoba (Spain), Fax: (+34) 957218621
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  • Prof. Lourdes Hernán,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Química Inorgánica e Ingeniería Química, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, Edificio Marie Curie, 14071 Córdoba (Spain), Fax: (+34) 957218621
    • Departamento de Química Inorgánica e Ingeniería Química, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, Edificio Marie Curie, 14071 Córdoba (Spain), Fax: (+34) 957218621
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  • Prof. Julián Morales

    1. Departamento de Química Inorgánica e Ingeniería Química, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, Edificio Marie Curie, 14071 Córdoba (Spain), Fax: (+34) 957218621
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Abstract

Two disordered microporous carbons were obtained from two different types of biomass residues: olive and cherry stones. The former (OS) was activated physically under steam while the latter (CS) chemically with an aqueous solution of ZnCl2. Their structural and textural properties were studied by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and N2 adsorption/desorption. Although the samples possess similar textural properties (BET surface areas, micropore surfaces and volumes), the CS carbon is more disordered than the OS carbon. Their electrochemical response in half-cells (CS [OS]/Li) is good; the values are comparable to those obtained from mesocarbon microbeads commonly used in commercial lithium-ion batteries, which consist of highly graphitized carbon. However, cells featuring the OS or CS carbon as anode and LiMn2O4 as cathode perform poorly. Electrochemical activation of the electrodes against lithium metal, a recommended procedure for boosting the electrochemical properties of real lithium-ion batteries, improves cell performance (particularly with OS) but is ultimately ineffective: the delivered average capacity of the activated cell made from OS was less than half its theoretical value. The high irreversible capacity, high polarization between the charge and discharge curves, combined with the presence of various functional groups and the high disorder of the studied carbons which may facilitate side reactions such as electrolyte decomposition, results in a degraded cell performance.

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