What could be possibly common between apple cores, walnut shells, and spent grain? They could one day be the power source of a data center. As the world is heading toward environmentally and economically friendly ways to power devices, two researchers at Virginia Tech are investigating how food refuse and its associated biomass can be transformed into rechargeable batteries.
The research could be a piece of puzzle for solving sustainable energy source for rechargeable batteries. In fact, demand for reusable batteries has skyrocketed and what is required is to find a way to reduce the environmental impacts of batteries.
The research received funding from a unit of the U.S agricultural department with the priority area of bioengineering and bioprocessing.
Meanwhile, based on preliminary results, the researchers found that fiber component in food waste the major to develop advanced carbon materials to be used as a battery anode – the negative terminal on the battery.
The unique approach to use waste derived from agriculture carbon materials to host alkali metal such as sodium and lithium will bring major advances for processing of agricultural waste and battery technology.
The research will pave the way for advancement of utilization of agricultural refuse generated in agricultural systems to produce carbon and for energy storage devices.
For the study, the team used highly adaptable, abundant, and cost-effective raw materials to address the need of energy storage field. The use of carbon materials derived from waste as the host for metal anodes could reduce the usage of metal alkali per battery to a significant extent.
Earlier, the idea struck the researchers duo while playing a game of pickup basketball.
This was to convert food refuse into battery substances because of the vast volume of food waste across the world.