Once the asphalt was treated, the authors could add lithium to it simply by electroplating it. It formed an even coating on the surface. With that, the material was ready to be used as an electrode.
The results were rather impressive. When all of the electrode materials were considered, the battery's energy density was nearly 950 Watt-hours per kilogram. For comparison, the batteries in a Tesla are in the neighborhood of 250 Whr/kg.
As always, there's no way to know at this point whether this tech can be commercialized. But this one has a major advantage in that gilsonite is cheap enough that we can afford to pave roads with it.
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Pretty impressive stuff, I really hope the treatment process can be scaled up for mass production, nearly 4x the energy density of current batteries might be the breakthrough that electric vehicles need to really become practical for most people.