Cigarette butts are dangerous for the environment, even if smokers dispose of them properly. Because of that, scientists decided to put them to good use, and turned them into high-performance supercapacitor components.
Arsenic and lead are only two of the environment-harmful chemicals found in cigarette butts, and this is a good enough reason to repurpose them as soon as possible. Fortunately for us, researchers from an university in South Korea invented a way of turning cigarette butts into a high-performing supercapacitor. Scientists get more and more inventive nowadays when it comes to finding new ways of generating or storing energy, and that can only be good for us, supposing that these methods are put into practice and become commercially-available at some point.
Professor Jongheop Yi, from Seoul National University, co-author of the study, noted that “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 year; our method is just one way of achieving this.”
Yi added that “A high-performing supercapacitor material should have a large surface area, which can be achieved by incorporating a large number of small pores into the material. A combination of different pore sizes ensures that the material has high power densities, which is an essential property in a supercapacitor for the fast charging and discharging.”
I happen to live in one of the uncivilized countries where smoking in public is still a thing. Bars, trams (even if people aren’t smoking in public transport, you can tell who is a smoker and who isn’t, either by the way their breath smells, or their clothes) and sometimes even open spaces are intoxicated with the obnoxious odor, and worst of all, when smoking outside, the cigarette butts end up on the pavement rather than in a garbage can. Finding a good way to reuse them sounds like something unreal, and yet, the South Korean researchers did it.
Inevitably, I was also reminded of this:
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