A group of scientists from South Korea have converted used-cigarette butts into a high-performing material that could be integrated into computers, handheld devices, electrical vehicles and wind turbines to store energy.
Presenting their findings today, 5 August 2014, in IOP Publishing's journal Nanotechnology, the researchers have demonstrated the material's superior performance compared to commercially available carbon, graphene and carbon nanotubes.
It is hoped the material can be used to coat the electrodes of supercapacitorselectrochemical components that can store extremely large amounts of electrical energywhilst also offering a solution to the growing environmental problem caused by used-cigarette filters.
It is estimated that as many as 5.6 trillion used-cigarettes, or 766,571 metric tons, are deposited into the environment worldwide every year.
Co-author of the study Professor Jongheop Yi, from Seoul National University, said: "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.
"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 yearour method is just one way of achieving this."
Carbon is the most popular material that supercapacitors are composed of, due to its low cost, high surface area, high electrical conductivity and long term stability.
Scientists around the world are currently working towards improving the characteristics of supercapacitorssuch as energy density, power density and cycle stabilitywhilst also trying to reduce production costs.
In their study, the researchers demonstrated that the cellulose acetate fibres that cigarette filters are mostly compo
|Contact: Michael Bishop|
Institute of Physics