One man’s pollution, another man’s green energy
You may never heard of a good news about smoking, but the first one comes from South Korea where researchers have found a big advantage for cigarettes as used filters can be transformed into green energy batteries.
It’s rare that smoking receives some good press, but South Korean scientists say they have found an unlikely benefit to cigarettes: used butts can be converted into powerful batteries for storing renewable energy.
As an article published in the journal Nanotechnology says, cigars can be converted into a high-performance carbon-based material that is very good for energy storage.
The storage has always been one of the green energy’s problem, since, as opposed to fossil fuels, wind and solar can provide electricity in an intermittent way.
Reusing old cigar filters can offer two advantages: recycling cigarettes while offering a storage solution.
“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 to meeting the energy demands of society,” are Professor’s Jongheop Yi words, from Seoul National University, and co-author of the study.
“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”, he added.
About 5.6 trillion used cigarettes are thrown into the environment every year. They have cancers related chemicals, pesticides and nicotine.
After being smoked, the cigars convert into a material made of tiny pores that makes a high surface area which can store big amounts of power.
This is useful for coating the electrodes of supercapacitors – electrochemical parts used in storing big energy amounts and create a super-efficient battery useful for computers, phones and hybrid cars. This could also impact production costs and could also be more efficient than current alternatives.
Researchers from Sheffield took another step forward as they developed spray-on, highly efficient solar cells with the help of perovskite, a new type of cheap efficient solar technology.
“There is a lot of excitement around perovskite based photovoltaics. Perovskite cells now have efficiencies of up to 19 per cent. This is not so far behind that of silicon at 25 per cent – the material that dominates the world-wide solar market,” says lead researcher Professor David Lidzey.
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