Existing batteries suffer from performance deficiencies, for example, they have limited power density and may drain rapidly when used for certain applications. By employing sulfur in their cathodes, LiS batteries can realize substantially greater energy densities than existing energy storage devices. Sulfur by itself is not a suitable electrode material due to its poor conductivity. Cathode materials for rechargeable secondary batteries such as LiS batteries may contain carbon as an amorphous conductive material. However, the electrochemical make-up of LiS batteries presents a significant challenge due to the susceptibility of the sulfur to substantial dissolution into the electrolyte from within the conductive carbon matrix of the cathode. The loss of polysulfides in LiS batteries directly translates to a rapid fading of capacity due to a decrease in the active material, lower Coulombic efficiencies, electrolyte degradation due to undesired side reactions, and eventually, a poor cycle life. A battery is disclosed in which an anode including an electrolye, lithium, is provided along with a membrane separate and a carbon comprising a carbon-sulfur compound derived from lignosulfonates. Lignosulfonates are an ideal precursor to form conductive carbon cathodes that contain active sulfur in small clusters, which is an essential characteristic for LiS batteries to maintain long cycle lifetimes. Further, lignosulfonates are a low-cost byproduct stream. A method of making the cathode via pyrolizing of lignosulfonate, carbonizing the pyrolyzed lignosulfonate, and forming the resulting carbon-sulfur mater the cathode.