May 4, 2020

Australian scientists create double-sustainable energy storage from durian and jackfruit waste

Australian scientists create double-sustainable energy storage from durian and jackfruit waste


The study was conducted at the University of Sydney and was centred on the cores of both durian and jackfruit, which are generally discarded as food waste because only the flesh of both fruits, which surround large inedible seeds, are consumable.

The secret to this lay in the naturally-occurring carbon structures of the fruit cores, described as ‘fibrous’​ and fleshy’​, and which properties allowed for the effective storage of energy with some engineering.

“Using durian and jackfruit purchased from a market, we converted the fruits’ waste portions (biomass) into super-capacitors that can be used to store electricity efficiently,”​ said study co-author Associate Professor Vincent Gomes.

“[The fruit biomass was] heated in water and freeze-dried [to be] transformed into stable carbon aerogels — an extremely light and porous synthetic material used for a range of applications [including as] super-capacitors.”

According to ScienceDirect​, carbon aerogels are extremely porous materials much like a carbon sponge with very large surface areas, both of which are important properties when it comes to allowing electrical storage.

Super-capacitors on the other hand are basically energy sources that are less powerful than a rechargeable battery but faster and more durable (can be charged up and reused many more times and at much faster speeds, but with lower voltages/energy density).

“Super-capacitors are like energy reservoirs that dole out energy smoothly. They can quickly store large amounts of energy within a small battery-sized device and then supply energy to charge electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops, within a few seconds,” ​Prof Gomes added.



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