Researchers at the University of Sydney developed a method for converting waste del durianthe world’s stinkiest fruit, into a supercapacitor that could be used to charge electronic devices and even cars.
How does it work?
According to Professor Vincent Gomes, principal investigator of the study, points out that the function of this fruit lies in the structural precision of natural biomass (waste), which are transformed into stable carbon aerogels using a “non-toxic and non-hazardous green engineering method” that involves “heating in water and lyophilizing fruit biomass.
Carbon airgel, which is essentially an extremely light and porous synthetic material, is used to make energy-storing electrodes.
Conventional batteries have two electrodes, separated by an electrolyte, which is just a chemical that serves as a catalyst to cause a chemical reaction inside the battery.
These reactions convert the chemicals inside a battery into new substances that release electrical energy.
Once all the chemicals inside have been used up, the processes stop and the battery dies.
Rechargeable batteries, on the other hand, allow internal chemical reactions to run in both directions, becoming cyclic in nature. That is why the lithium ion battery inside a smartphonefor example, can be uploaded and downloaded over and over again.
“We have reached a point where we urgently need to discover and produce ways to create and store energy using sustainably sourced materials that do not contribute to global warming.”
Durian waste, as a zero-cost substance that the community urgently wants to get rid of due to its foul smell, “is a sustainable source that can transform waste into a product to substantially reduce the cost of energy storage through of our chemical-free green synthesis protocols,” said co-author Vincent Gomes.
This project is another step in the development of more efficient supercapacitors. Perhaps the stinkiest fruit in the world will thus end up being a more efficient and more sustainable substitute for powerbanks current plastic.
The research was published in The Journal of Energy Storage.
Source: Diario Ecologia by diarioecologia.com.
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