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Microplastics can be recycled to make electrodes for lithium batteries

The polyethylene microplastic pollution commonly found in wastewater can be extracted to create electrodes for lithium-ion batteries


30 January 2023

Beads of microplastic from a cosmetic facial scrub

Beads of microplastic, like these ones in cosmetic facial scrubs, are accumulating in the world’s waters


Fragments of plastic that pollute water sources across the world and are thought to be harmful to our health could be recycled to make electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.

Jinsub Choi at Inha University in South Korea and his colleagues have found a way to extract microplastics made of polyethylene – the most common type of plastic – from contaminated water and turn them into electrodes for lithium-ion batteries. This is the type of battery …

Source link As the world moves towards more sustainable and eco-friendly formations, microplastics have emerged as a viable resource for the recycling market. Recycled microplastics are proving to have many potential applications with the potential to revolutionize the way in which industries produce electrical and electronic components. One such application is the use of recycled microplastics to create electrodes for lithium batteries.

Lithium batteries, commonly used in devices such as cell phones and laptops, typically consist of two electrodes – an anode and a cathode – and a lithium salts-based electrolyte solution. Traditionally, electrodes were manufactured using a mix of graphite and metal oxide but recently researchers have been exploring the possibility of utilizing recycled microplastics instead. The structure of the recycled microplastics, such as polystyrene and polypropylene, are lightweight and have similar properties to graphite, making them well suited for the electrode material.

The utilization of recycled microplastics to create lithium battery electrodes can reduce production costs, as the materials can be sourced in bulk and are recyclable themselves. Additionally, the reuse of these materials will help reduce the buildup of plastic waste in landfills and oceans. This can potentially be beneficial to the environment, as storing these materials will reduce their environmental impact and prevent them from entering the food chain.

Furthermore, the properties of recycled plastics make them excellent solutions for energy storage applications. The materials possess high energy densities, and their chemical structures can be easily modified without sacrificing their performance. This allows for the creation of customized lithium battery chemistries, enabling the development of high-performance batteries for a wide range of applications.

To conclude, the utilization of recycled microplastics for the creation of lithium battery electrodes showcases the potential of the recycling market to revolutionize the way in which electronic components are made. With their lightweight and customizable nature, these materials offer unique benefits for the development of high-performance batteries and can help reduce the buildup of plastic waste in our planet.

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