How to Turn Your Garbage Into Sustainable Batteries


Researchers from the Helmholtz Institute Ulm of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology say that a carbon-based active material from apple leftovers and layered oxides can be used to develop a sodium-based energy storage system. They claim that their study, presented in the journals ChemElectroChem and Advanced Energy Materials, is a crucial step toward using sustainable use of resources and transforming the energy system.

Researchers Stefano Passerini and Daniel Buchholz, both from the Helmholtz Institute Ulm of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, said that leftovers of apples can produce a carbon-based material needed for the sodium-ion battery’s negative electrode. They note more than 1,000 charge and discharge cycles of high cyclic stability and high capacity.

According to them, the material for the positive electrode contains layers of sodium oxides. Apparently, this active material is less expensive and more environment-friendly than regular lithium-ion batteries because these do not contain the harmful element, cobalt, used in lithium-ion batteries.

They added that the materials, to make sodium-ion batteries are accessible are abundant and affordable, which make these good alternatives to lithium-ion technology. They also found that these batteries are more powerful than nickel-metal hydride or lead acid accumulators.

Other studies have shown that garbage can be used to produce biofuel that can replace gasoline. This practice can decrease the global CO2 emissions by 80 percent. Biofuel must contain over 80 percent renewable material. This can be produced from living organisms or organic or food waste products.



However, other experts admit that turning garbage into energy is a generally complicated process and involves many steps. Just sorting the garbage at the first step can be too time-consuming. Hence, the more difficult the process, the more expensive it is.

Nevertheless, landfill-to-energy projects are a growing business.  These use the methane gas emitted by decaying garbage into fuel, turning waste products into profit.


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