Packing Peanuts with Purpose
Researchers in Associate Professor Vilas Pol's laboratory have shown how to convert waste packing peanuts into high-performance carbon electrodes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that outperform conventional graphite electrodes, representing an environmentally friendly approach to reuse the waste.
Batteries have two electrodes, called an anode and a cathode. The anodes in most of today's lithium-ion batteries are made of graphite. Lithium ions are contained in a liquid called an "electrolyte," and these ions are stored in the anode during recharging. Now, researchers in the School of Chemical Engineering have shown how to manufacture carbon-nanoparticle and microsheet anodes from polystyrene and starch-based packing peanuts, respectively.
Read more about Dr. Pol's research