Chinese scientists have found a new way of repurposing the dead leaves of deciduous phoenix trees. They took these and transformed them into supercapacitors. Namely, they synthesized the leaves into a porous carbon material. One that can reportedly be used to produce high-tech electronics.
Dead Leaves, the Source of New, Higher Storage Electronics?
This new research was led by Hongfang Ma of the Qilu University of Technology in China. The scientists have been especially looking to find ways of turning waste biomass into energy storage technology purposed porous carbon materials.
According to research, dead leaves can be quite simply turned, through a multi-step process, into electrodes in the form of active materials. Through this, they could help give rise to some highly efficient supercapacitors.
The transformation process first has the dried dead leaves ground and turned into a powder. Then, these were heated for 12 hours at 428 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting powder was made out of small carbon microspheres, which reportedly became extremely porous.
These pores helped increase the particle’s surface area and also gave the material its special electronic properties.
The carbon microspheres were then treated with an electrolyte, a solution of potassium hydroxide, and heated gradually until reaching 1472 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the team points out, the process used will simply corrode the surface of the carbon from this organic matter through a process of ionizing and burning.
The study team is presently working on finding and establishing which other plants might produce biomass waste which can be turned into capacitors. Also, Professor Ma and her colleagues are looking to optimize the preparation process and allow for the modification or doping of the raw materials base.
This could help further improve the electromechanical properties of the resulting porous carbon materials.
Current research results revolving around the deciduous phoenix trees’ dead leaves were released in a paper in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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