Features

Published: Friday August 8, 2014 MYT 7:00:00 PM
Updated: Friday August 8, 2014 MYT 7:16:44 AM

Scientists turn cigarette butts into super batteries

Scientists in South Korea say they have found a way to convert used cigarette butts into high performance batteries called supercapacitors.

In a study published on Aug 5 in the journal Nanotechnology, researchers from Seoul National University outline how they managed to transform used cigarette filters, which are composed mainly of cellulose acetate fibres tainted with toxins, into a material that can potentially change the future of batteries.

“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,” said professor and study co-author Jongheop Yi.

The end result is a so-called supercapacitor, which the scientists claim can store more power, recharge quicker and last longer than available energy storage alternatives. The supercapacitor material can potentially be used in various devices and applications, everything from mobile phones to electric cars.

“Carbon is one of the promising materials considered for use in supercapacitors due to its low cost, high porosity, electronic conductivity and stability,” adds the study.

According to anti-smoking campaigners Americans for Non-smokers’ Rights, cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded item worldwide, contributing more than 765,000 tonnes of waste annually. – Reuters

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