Scientists in South Korea have developed a new way to store energy that also offers a solution to a growing environmental problem
Reporting their findings in the IOP Publishing journal Nanotechnology, the research team successfully converted used cigarette butts into a high performing material that could be integrated into computers, handheld devices, electric vehicles and wind turbines to store energy.
According to the study, this material outperforms commercially available carbon, graphene and carbon nanotubes. It may someday be used to coat the electrodes of supercapacitors: electrochemical components that can store extremely large amounts of electrical energy.
“Our study has shown that used cigarette filters can be transformed into a high performing carbon-based material using a simple one step process, which simultaneously offers a green solution for meeting the energy demands of society,” says co-author Professor Jongheop Yi of Seoul National University.
“Numerous countries are developing strict regulations to avoid the trillions of toxic and non-biodegradable used cigarette filters that are disposed of into the environment each year. Our method is just one way of achieving this,” adds Professor Yi.
Carbon is the most common material found in supercapacitors due to its low cost, high surface area, high electrical conductivity and long term stability. Scientists around the world are working to improve the characteristics of supercapacitors – such as their energy density, power density and cycle stability – while trying to reduce production costs.
In their study, Professor Yi and his colleagues demonstrated that the cellulose acetate fibres found in most cigarette filters could be transformed into a carbon-based material using a simple, one-step burning technique called pyrolysis. The resulting material contained a number of tiny pores, increasing its performance as a supercapacitive material.
“A high performing supercapacitor material should have a large surface area, which can be achieved by incorporating a large number of small pores into the material,” says Professor Yi. “A combination of different pore sizes ensures that the material has high power densities, which is an essential property in a supercapacitor.”
Once fabricated, the carbon-based material was attached to an electrode and tested in a three-electrode system to see how well the material could adsorb electrolyte ions (charge) and then release them (discharge). The material stored more electrical energy than commercially available carbon, graphene and carbon nanotubes.
“Our carbon-based material has the potential for use as an electrode material in lithium ion batteries, a catalyst-supporting material in fuel cells, and pollutant adsorbents,” says Professor Yi. “We hope our inventions will ultimately help reduce the environmental burden of cigarette butts while lowering the manufacturing cost of high quality carbon materials.”
USING CIGARETTE BUTTS TO COMBAT DENGUE
In addition to their energy storing potential, cigarette butts may one day be used to control dengue, one of the world’s most important mosquito-borne viral diseases.
The Latest on: Uses for cigarette butts
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The Latest on: Uses for cigarette butts
- Cigarette butt program shows early signs of success on May 24, 2019 at 4:15 pm
Other communities where receptacles have been installed also reported fewer cigarette butts littering the ground. “People are really starting to use it, and I’m only cleaning up the odd butt,” said ... […]
- 3D printed portraits made with DNA from cigarette butts to feature in new Wellcome Collection display on May 23, 2019 at 5:15 am
DNA from discarded cigarette butts and chewed up gum has been used to create a series of life-sized 3D printed portraits for a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection. American artist Heather ... […]
- ‘Put your butt on butts’: Ocean City creates benches from littered cigarettes on May 23, 2019 at 1:36 am
But now Ocean City is finding a new use for all that trash on the ground. It turns out cigarette butts are recyclable. And dozens of metal boxes and tubes have been set up outside of restaurants ... […]
- Recycling those old cigarette butts on May 22, 2019 at 6:51 pm
“Cigarette butts don’t break down, that’s why you see them everywhere ... “People are really starting to use it and I’m only cleaning up the odd butt.” Another attraction to the program, Laporte said, ... […]
- 'Butt Kickers' pick up cigarette butts in Rochester on May 20, 2019 at 4:02 pm
Since this uses automated speech to text spelling and grammar may not be accurate. started out as a science project has turned into an annual communtiy service project. students pick up cig butts-vo-1 ... […]
- Vape Pods Are The New Cigarette Butts. For Colorado, That's A Whole New Trash Problem on May 17, 2019 at 7:15 am
The shop gives customers a chance to win a prize if they turn in used pods and pens. “We don’t like seeing cigarette butts and we really don’t like to see plastic hazardous waste on the ground equally ... […]
- Cigarette butt leads to arrest in Angie Dodge murder case on May 16, 2019 at 6:40 pm
The cigarette butt was lost among others on the road ... a genetic analysis company that has used novel genetic genealogy techniques to help solve 56 other cold cases around the country. Genetic ... […]
- Port Washington installs receptacles near LIRR station to collect cigarette butts for recycling on May 13, 2019 at 11:26 am
Germain said Friday that the cigarette butts will be collected every seven days from the receptacles and sent to TerraCycle, a Trenton, New Jersey-based company that will use them to make new products ... […]
- More than 10,000 cigarette butts found in Millennium Park in Peterborough on May 12, 2019 at 11:47 am
Cigarette butts returned to the top of that list ... "Not only does cleaning shorelines help restore critical habitat, but it reminds us to be thoughtful about what we use and how we dispose of it." ... […]
- Cigarette butts revealed again as top litter item on Canadian shorelines on May 10, 2019 at 11:24 am
Cigarette butts have been identified as a top offender ... but it reminds us to be thoughtful about what we use and how we dispose of it.” “Our Shoreline Cleanup volunteers are truly awesome ... […]
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