Making Batteries From Waste Glass Bottles

The conversion from un-recycled glass to favorable materials is of great significance for sustainable strategies. Silicon has an exceptional anode material due to its extraordinary lithiation capacity. Carbon-coated glass derived-silicon (gSi@C) electrodes demonstrate excellent electrochemical performance.


Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have created nano silicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries from waste glass bottles. As li-ion batteries are found in most major devices, people use them daily. They could also contribute to better batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles. Researchers hope the batteries will extend the range of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Today, billions of glass bottles end up in landfills every year. It enables the researcher to think about silicon dioxide in waste beverage bottles that could provide high purity silicon nanoparticles for lithium-ion batteries.

Making Batteries From Waste Glass Bottles
A team of battery researchers led by Cengiz Ozkan, professor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, professor of electrical engineering at UC Riverside.

Silicon nodes can store up to 10 times more energy than conventional graphite anodes. But expansion and shrinkage during the charging and discharging cycle make them unstable. By combining an abundant and relatively pure form of silicon dioxide and a low-cost chemical reaction, scientists created lithium-ion half-cell batteries that store almost four times more energy than conventional graphite anodes.

Scientists created anodes by using a three-step process. The process involved crushing and grinding the glass bottles into a fine white power. It transformed silicon dioxide into nanostructured silicon. The process also coated nanoparticles with carbon, which improves their stability and energy storage properties.

As an outcome, the batteries greatly outperformed traditional batteries in laboratory tests. The batteries also demonstrated excellent electrochemical performance with a capacity of ~1420 mAh/g at a C/2 rate after 400 cycles.

Changling Li, a graduate student, said, “One glass bottle provides enough nano silicon for hundreds of coin cell batteries or three-five pouch cell batteries. We started with a waste product that was headed for the landfill and created batteries that stored more energy, charged faster, and were more stable than commercial coin cell batteries. Hence, we have very promising candidates for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.”

Journal Reference

  1. Changling Li, Chueh Liu, Wei Wang, Zafer Mutlu, Jeffrey Bell, Kazi Ahmed, Rachel Ye, Mihrimah Ozkan & Cengiz S. Ozkan. Silicon Derived from Glass Bottles as Anode Materials for Lithium Ion Full Cell Batteries. Scientific Reports volume 7, Article number: 917 (2017) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-01086-8
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