Most batteries are made from lithium-ions, which is not a very sustainable material to work with, as the graphite used usually comes from fossil fuels or it is mined for. Either of these ways of sourcing the graphite cause large amounts of greenhouse gases to be released and have major impacts on the environment.
To make batteries more sustainable, Stora Enso, a Finnish-Swedish biomaterial company, and Northvolt, a Swedish manufacturer of batteries, are working together to produce a plant-based battery. The technology they are developing will remove the use of graphite and will replace it with a material from the cell walls of plants. The material, known as Lignin, will be developed to produce a material called Lignode.
Lignin makes up 20-30% of a tree
The Lignin, that makes up 20-30% of a tree, will be extracted from trees in the Nordic region, both companies have stated that these trees are within forests that are being sustainably managed.
If the development of the battery is successful, it will be one of the first plant-based batteries worldwide. As the battery industry expands, as we make the move towards electric vehicles, these batteries will help the industry to increase its sustainability.
Volkswagen have already invested in the development of this new plant-based battery technology, and have plans to integrate them into their own electric vehicles.
These batteries will soon be hitting the market, if their development has been successful, as back in 2017, Stora Enso’s Head of Innovation, Mikael Hannus, claimed that the production of this technology was 5-10 years away.