From Packing Peanuts to Energy Storage

The Electrochemical Society’s Vilas Pol has developed a new process to turn simple packing peanuts into energy-storing battery components.

Pol, an associate professor at Purdue University and active member of ECS, has thoroughly succeeded in turning one person’s trash into another person’s high-tech treasure. He and his team from Purdue University have developed a system that turns the puffy packing peanuts into nanoparticles and microsheets perfect for rechargeable batteries. Pol’s new generation of battery could even outperform the ones we currently use.

The idea came to Pol as he unpacked newly delivered lap equipment. With green technologies at the forefront of his thoughts, he began to wonder if there could be an environmentally friendly way to utilize these puffy pieces.

“Outside in a landfill, potentially harmful substances in the peanuts, such as heavy metals, chlorides and phthalates, can easily leach into the environment and deteriorate soil and water quality,” says Pol.

This from American Chemical Society:

Pol and Etacheri then tested the microsheets and nanoparticles as anodes in rechargeable lithium ion batteries. The lithium ions move between the electrodes during charging and discharging. They report that their anode works so well that it outperforms commercial ones, with a storage capacity higher than graphite, a typical anode material.

Read the full release here.

Pol hopes he and his team could have the carbon microsheets and nanoparticles ready for commercial use within two years.

Check out the abstract from Pol’s presentation at the upcoming 227th ECS Meeting in Chicago. Registration for this meeting is now open!

Make sure to join Pol and other brilliant scientific minds by becoming a member of ECS today!


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