PAPEL is a battery that is, to say the least, original. Developed by researchers at the Paper Processes Engineering Laboratory (LGP2) in collaboration with Turin's Politecnico, this lithium-ion battery is partly made of... paper!
Up to now Li-ion batteries have had a high energy density and a longer life-cycle as well as providing extra safety, say the inventors. However, the production costs have to come down before they can be used in large-scale products and the environmental impact needs to be minimised.
These are all innovations incorporated in the PAPEL battery, which is based on the use of a high-production capacity process from the paper industry for manufacturing electrodes. On the new Li-ion battery, the polymer electrodes are replaced by electrodes made from paper, the toxic solvent is removed and the fluorinated binder structuring the active materials is replaced by a binder made from cellulose microfibrils. As a result of an aqueous filtration process, the fibres are deconstructed on a nanometric scale, forming a 3D network that guarantees mechanical strength and good contact between conductive particles. These electrodes disintegrate quickly in water, thus allowing the recycling of active materials. Flexible, ecological and economic, PAPEL meets production requirements in the following areas of application: mobile phones, the aerospace and automobile industries (electric vehicles) and renewable energy plants. This innovation approach is supported by GRAVIT (Innovation Grenoble Alpes), an organisation designed to speed up the transfer of technology between research and the industrial market. A patent has been filed and a demonstrator is in the process of being constructed. The concept was awarded the Innovative Techniques for the Environment Prize on 27 November 2012, organised as part of the Pollutec 2012 trade show in partnership with Ademe.