Researchers from Germany’s Karlsruhe Insitute of Technology were very recently in news for developing a unique biofuel which could probably be an easy replacement for the existing non-renewable energy sources. Imagine, the apple peel which usually lands up in the dustbins being used energy generation.
Well, this is what the researches proposed as the energy storage and generation solution. With Germany’s ever-increasing apple processing waste, it was only a matter of time before such an innovation around apple peels happened.
Coming to the Scientific Bit!
The researchers found that leftover apple waste possesses some excellent electrochemical properties which can be used in batteries. The apple peel electricity could well be the replacement for the NA-ion batteries, which anyway have become the replacement of the Li-ion batteries which have been known to cause significant groundwater pollution and pose a severe health hazard.
For the negative electrode, a carbon-based material was developed, which can be produced from the leftovers of apples and possesses excellent electrochemical properties. So far, more than 1000 charge and discharge cycles of high cyclic stability and high capacity have been demonstrated.
The research team also points out that the sodium oxides used on the positive electrode are non-hazardous, abundant, and inexpensive. The lab results indicate that the energy storage properties — capacity, voltage, and stability — are the same as that of a lithium-ion battery with cobalt.
The study is available in the Advanced Energy Materials journal under the title “Layered Na-Ion Cathodes with Outstanding Performance Resulting from the Synergetic Effect of Mixed P- and O-type Phases.”
The Karlsruhe press breaks the study in simpler layman terms. Giving a slight into it is the sentence mentioned below:
“A carbon-based active material produced from apple leftovers and a material of layered oxides might help reduce the costs of future energy storage systems.”
The Parting Comments
The Apple Peel energy generation would definitely put Germany’s massive amounts of agricultural wastes to good use. The researchers are currently looking at the stationary energy storage market for the commercialisation of the invention. It is still a long shot before the same can be utilised for running our vehicles at as good mileages as our fossil fuels.
The good part, however, is that the world is taking the entire alternative fuel subject very seriously. For instance, US-based researchers have found bee pollen to be an excellent alternative too.
We do understand that it is going to take a lot of time before anything finally gets done and implemented but isn’t a good beginning a work half done already?