by Iswarya on  February 18, 2019 at 12:44 PM Environmental Health
Plastic Bags Can be Now Used to Create Battery Parts
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.

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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