Plastic bags could soon power your smartphone



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The researchers converted plastic bags into carbon chips for batteries, providing a way to value discarded plastic bags.

Pollution of plastic bags has become such a serious environmental problem that California has banned single-use plastic bags in department stores and organizations are proliferating around the world to fight the vast expanses of plastic waste in the United States. Pacific Ocean, according to the National Conference of Legislatures.

According to Ocean Cleanup, plastic can take hundreds of years to decompose and, slowly degrading under the effect of sunlight, releases toxic chemicals into the environment.

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"More than 5,000 billion pieces of plastic are currently littering the ocean, with waste accumulating in five oceanic waste deposits, the largest being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California."

–The cleaning of the ocean

The researchers at Purdue University and the Tecnológica University of Querétaro in Mexico aimed to develop a simple and relatively inexpensive way to turn used plastic bags into carbon storing material. energy.

The research was published in the American Chemical Society.

Although scientists have long known that polyethylene contained in plastic bags could be converted into energy-storing carbon, previous methods of converting polyethylene to pure carbon were complex and expensive, according to the summary of the 39; study.

In the new inexpensive method, researchers immersed polyethylene plastic bags in sulfuric acid and heated them in a special reactor just below the melting temperature of the polyethylene.

This heated the plastic to a much higher temperature without vaporizing dangerous gases. Then they removed the reactor from the treated polyethylene and heated it in an oven to produce pure carbon. The last step was to grind the carbon into a black powder used in the manufacture of anodes for lithium-ion batteries.

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According to the researchers, the batteries thus obtained were used to power a toy truck and their performance was comparable to that of commercial batteries.

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