If there’s one thing that abounds on planet Earth, it is man-made trash. Fortunately, researchers have developed a method of using discarded goods to create sodium-ion batteries. Made from recycled materials and safer than lithium variants, the battery is the latest step in renewable energy storage.

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To create batteries out of trash, the scientists accumulated rusty, recycled stainless steel mesh. Then, they used a potassium ferrocyanide solution — the same solution used in fertilizers and in wine production — to dissolve the ions out of the rust layer.

Ions such as nickel and iron then bonded with other ions in the solution. This created a salt that clung to the mesh as scaffolded nanotubes that store and release potassium ions. As Engadget reports, “The movement of potassium ions allows for conductivity, which was boosted with an added coating of oxidized graphite.”

Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars

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More often than not, lithium batteries are used for renewable energy storage. However, the type of battery is expensive and exists in limited amounts. Additionally, lithium batteries have been known to explode. Not only are the new sodium-ion batteries safer, they boast a high capacity, discharge voltage, and cycle stability.

Developing the battery was step one of testing the concept. Now that scientists have successfully created renewable energy from trash, the battery can be improved upon to maximize its potential.

Via Engadget

Images via Pixabay