Plastic Bags Can be Now Used to Create Battery Parts

by Iswarya on  February 18, 2019 at 12:44 PM Environmental Health
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Purdue University and Universidad Tecnológica de Querétaro research team aim to develop a simple, relatively cheap way to turn used plastic bags into an energy-storing carbon. The findings of the study are published in the American Chemical Society.
Plastic Bags Can be Now Used to Create Battery Parts
Plastic Bags Can be Now Used to Create Battery Parts

Converting plastic bags into carbon chips that could be used in batteries can offer a way to put used and discarded plastic bags to good use.

Plastic pollution has become a huge environmental issue, prompting a few cities and countries to tax or ban the sacks heavily. These plastic bags end up in landfills, oceans after a one-time use, where they take hundreds of years to decompose, and as it gradually degrades with sunlight, it releases poisonous chemicals into the environment.

Although it has been acknowledged for a while that polyethylene present in plastic bags could be converted into energy-storing carbon, previous techniques to "upcycle" polyethylene into pure carbon have been complex and expensive processes.

The research team wanted to develop a simpler yet effective way to convert plastic waste into beneficial carbon-containing materials.

In the new inexpensive method, the researchers submerged polyethylene plastic bags in sulphuric acid and sealed them inside a special reactor, which heated the sample to just below polyethylene's melting temperature.

This enabled the plastic to be heated to a much higher temperature without vaporizing into toxic gases. After that, they removed the treated polyethylene from the solvothermal reactor and heated it in a furnace to generate pure carbon. The last step was to ground the carbon into a black powder which can be used to make anodes for lithium-ion batteries.

The resulting batteries were utilized to power a toy truck, and the batteries worked comparably to commercial batteries, according to the researchers.

Source: Medindia

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