Researchers have shown how to convert waste packing peanuts into high-performance carbon electrodes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that outperform conventional graphite electrodes, representing an environmentally friendly approach to reuse the waste.
Batteries have two electrodes, called an anode and a cathode. The anodes in most of today’s lithium-ion batteries are made of graphite. Lithium ions are contained in a liquid called an electrolyte, and these ions are stored in the anode during recharging. Now, researchers at Purdue University have shown how to manufacture carbon-nanoparticle and microsheet anodes from polystyrene and starch-based packing peanuts, respectively.
“We were getting a lot of packing peanuts while setting up our new lab,” recalled postdoctoral research associate Vinodkumar Etacheri. “Professor Vilas Pol suggested a pathway to do something useful with these peanuts.”
This simple suggestion led to a potential new eco-friendly application for the packaging waste. Research findings indicate that the new anodes can charge faster and deliver higher “specific capacity” compared to commercially available graphite anodes, Pol said.
The new findings are being presented during the 249th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition in Denver on March 22-26. The work was performed by Etacheri, Pol and undergraduate chemical engineering student Chulgi Nathan Hong.
“Although packing peanuts are used worldwide as a perfect solution for shipping, they are notoriously difficult to break down, and only about 10 percent are recycled,” Pol said. “Due to their low density, huge containers are required for transportation and shipment to a recycler, which is expensive and does not provide much profit on investment.”
Consequently, packing peanuts often end up in landfills, where they remain intact for decades. Although the starch-based versions are more environmentally friendly than the polystyrene peanuts, they do contain chemicals and detergents that can contaminate soil and aquatic ecosystems, posing a threat to marine animals, he said.
The new method “is a very simple, straightforward approach,” Pol said. “Typically, the peanuts are heated between 500 and 900 degrees Celsius in a furnace under inert atmosphere in the presence or absence of a transition metal salt catalyst.”
The resulting material is then processed into the anodes.
“The process is inexpensive, environmentally benign and potentially practical for large-scale manufacturing,” Etacheri said. “Microscopic and spectroscopic analyses proved the microstructures and morphologies responsible for superior electrochemical performances are preserved after many charge-discharge cycles.”
Commercial anode particles are about 10 times thicker than the new anodes and have higher electrical resistance, which increase charging time.
“In our case, if we are lithiating this material during the charging of a battery it has to travel only 1 micrometer distance, so you can charge and discharge a battery faster than your commercially available material,” Pol said.
Because the sheets are thin and porous, they allow better contact with the liquid electrolyte in batteries.
“These electrodes exhibited notably higher lithium-ion storage performance compared to the commercially available graphite anodes,” he said.
The Latest on: Packing peanut recycling
via Google News
The Latest on: Packing peanut recycling
- Twin celebrations: Recycling in Joplin hits 20th anniversary; coordinator to retireon January 10, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Recycling is not Phillips' only duty with the city ... No. 2 and 4 plastic shopping bags. • Clean packing peanuts, bubble wrap. • Batteries. • Cooking oil. • Electronic waste (there are fees to take ...
- New York State Hopes to Say Goodbye to Styrofoam With New Proposalon January 7, 2020 at 3:49 am
If you are a Styrofoam packing peanut or take-out food container, 2020 doesn’t look so great for you in ... but the lid is made of polypropylene and can be recycled in towns that offer recycling for ...
- Woman finds 50-year-old crisp packet littered on Cornwall beachon January 6, 2020 at 4:40 am
The packaging features a price sticker of ‘7D’ (seven pence) on the front and an advert for ‘Golden Wonder Peanuts’ on the reverse ... ‘There’s also the Walkers recycling scheme so, if people still ...
- Is your holiday greenery turning brown? Recycle it to help wildlife, wetlands, scoutson January 5, 2020 at 10:14 am
Laurelhurst Troop 22 hosted its annual tree recycling event from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Jan. 4 at 935 N.E. 33rd Ave. The suggested donation is $10-$40. Troop 24 accepted drop-off trees from 8 a.m-4 p.m. on ...
- City of Buffalo hosts recycling dayon January 4, 2020 at 7:42 pm
The recycling event was from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at the City of Buffalo Engineering Garage located at 1120 Seneca Street. Packing peanuts, tape, dirt or screws will not be accepted. Items ...
- Islanders: Recycle your plastic foam, pleaseon January 2, 2020 at 12:30 am
For the past year, a troop of dedicated volunteers and I have been running an island-wide foam recycling program. We have been collecting Expanded Polystyrene, Extruded Polystyrene, packing peanuts, ...
- Gov. Cuomo Proposes State-Wide Single-Use Styrofoam Container Banon December 31, 2019 at 12:31 pm
"From take-out containers to packing peanuts, this material is everywhere and it will continue to pollute our ... promote increased reuse of the products New Yorkers use, and encourage increase rates ...
- Fryeburg selectmen offer Recycling 101on December 30, 2019 at 4:42 pm
FRYEBURG, Maine — Just because it’s plastic or paper doesn’t necessarily mean it’s recyclable. That was the gist of a show-and-tell session presented by Selectmen’s Chair Thomas Klinepeter at the ...
- Chatham recycling center accepts styrofoam wasteon December 30, 2019 at 5:29 am
Any Chatham resident can deposit styrofoam for no cost at the Eisenhower drop-off center, but not at any other county recycling facilities. Only clean packaging styrofoam is accepted — used food or ...
- Readers: Styrofoam waste tricky issue to tackleon December 29, 2019 at 4:57 pm
Andrew Cuomo Tuesday began a push for a statewide ban on single-use polystyrene foam containers and packing peanuts. Cuomo said his proposed ban on the products ... Maybe if gov’t supported forest ...
via Bing News