There’s no butts about it – scientists in South Korea just found a way to recycle smoked cigarette filters into high performing supercapacitors. Researchers from Seoul National University found a way to transform the nasty butts that litter sidewalks all over the world into a material comparable to graphene or carbon nanotubes. If the process is perfected, the material could store energy more effectively than its graphene counterpart.
Supercapacitors are an important component in energy, with their ability to hold charges without chemical reactions. Batteries rely on these chemical reactions, but supercapacitors have an advantage with an ability to charge and discharge at a faster rate. Although supercapacitors are very useful, their size is large and cumbersome, relegating them to industrial use only.
Thus far, scientists have used carbon nanotubes and graphene for supercapacitors, but a new study finds that used cigarette filters can replace these materials. Made from a synthetic fiber called cellulose acetate, the cigarette filters become porous when heated with nitrogen- making them ideal for super capacitors. Still in the testing period, the treated cigarette butts performed better than graphene and carbon nanotubes, holding and dispelling charges faster.