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Mattress textiles could be used to make EV batteries

Swatches | August 1, 2023 | By:

A man drives a forklift to move a stack of 10 mattresses. Research finds recycling mattresses can be a source of materials to make EV batteries.

In a three-year study at the National Institute for Materials Advancement at Pittsburg State University (PSU) in Kansas, researchers led by Ram Gupta, Ph.D., developed a process that transforms mattress textiles into conductive carbon materials used to make the anodes and cathodes in lithium-sulfur rechargeable batteries. These next-generation electric vehicle (EV) lithium-sulfur batteries have two to three times more energy storage capacity than conventional lithium-ion batteries. 

In the project funded by the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC), researchers converted and tested coconut fibers, shoddy pad (which is a feltlike product already made of recycled fabrics) and cotton fibers. The team found cotton was the best material for building the EV batteries. Preliminary results indicate the experimental rechargeable batteries perform equal to or better than conventional batteries and do not require scarce metals such as nickel, manganese and cobalt. 

This research is significant, as there is a global shortage of suitable carbon feedstocks for making electrodes, which are needed for rechargeable batteries. Textiles—and not just from mattresses—are challenging to recycle but could provide an inexpensive,
clean and abundant feedstock that can fill current and emerging needs. Photo: Mattress Recycling Council 

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