Low-Temperature Treated Lignin as Both Binder and Conductive Additive for Silicon Nanoparticle Composite Electrodes in Lithium-Ion Batteries

Tao Chen, Qinglin Zhang, Jie Pan, Jiagang Xu, Yiyang Liu, Mohanad Al-Shroofy, Yang Tse Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


This work demonstrates a high-performance and durable silicon nanoparticle-based negative electrode in which conventional polymer binder and carbon black additive are replaced with lignin. The mixture of silicon nanoparticles and lignin, a low cost, renewable, and widely available biopolymer, was coated on a copper substrate using the conventional slurry mixing and coating method and subsequently heat-treated to form the composite electrode. The composite electrode showed excellent electrochemical performance with an initial discharge capacity of up to 3086 mAh g-1 and retaining 2378 mAh g-1 after 100 cycles at 1 A g-1. Even at a relatively high areal loading of ∼1 mg cm-2, an areal capacity of ∼2 mAh cm-2 was achieved. The composite electrode also displayed excellent rate capability and performance in a full-cell setup. Through synergistic analysis of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman, and nanoindentation experiment results, we attribute the amazing properties of Si/lignin electrodes to the judicious choice of heat treatment temperature at 600 °C. At this temperature, lignin undergoes complex compositional change during which a balance between development of conductivity and retaining of polymer flexibility is realized. We hope this work could lead to practicable silicon-based negative electrodes and stimulate the interest in the utilization of biorenewable resources in advanced energy applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32341-32348
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 30 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the financial support from the National Science Foundation Grant No. 1355438 (Powering the Kentucky Bioeconomy for a Sustainable Future).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • anode material
  • binder-free anode
  • biorenewable
  • lignin
  • lithium-ion battery
  • silicon-carbon composite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)


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