Through a process called carbonisation which converts paper into pure carbon, the researchers turned the paper’s fibres into a carbon foam that could be used for the electrodes used in the rechargeable batteries that power mobile phones, medical equipment, and electric vehicles.

To produce the carbon anodes, the researchers joined and laser-cut several thin sheets of kraft paper to form different lattice geometries, both 3D open-cell honeycombs and closed-cell plate lattices, using a sheet lamination process. The paper was then heated to 1200°C in a furnace without the presence of oxygen, to convert it into carbon by pyrolisation.

As carbonisation takes place in the absence of oxygen, negligible amounts of carbon dioxide are emitted, making the process a greener alternative to incineration.

The carbon anodes produced by the research team also demonstrated excellent durability, flexibility, and electrochemical properties. Laboratory tests showed that the...