Scientists have discovered a method of producing battery materials from brewery waste.
A team of chemists at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany suggests that this technique could convert billions of tons of byproducts from brewers into energy storage devices “for a climate-friendly future.”
The researchers were able to use used grain from a nearby brewery as a bioresource. From this source, carbon is obtained to be used as electrodes in batteries and super capacitors.
“We have been investigating the suitability of different biological raw materials for years to obtain the carbon-containing materials we use to manufacture energy storage devices,” says Professor Andrea Balducci from the University of Jena, The Independent reported.
“Brewery waste also meets important criteria for this: Its chemical composition is in principle very suitable for the applications we are targeting. “Scientists stated that breweries are scattered all over Europe, so that wastes can be easily obtained as raw materials for this process.
The European Union produces about 7 billion tons of used grain, of which about 1.5 billion tons is produced in Germany alone.
“Such waste could be an interesting option in producing materials for supercapacitors, if some factors, such as the cost of the chemical composition of the raw material, could be improved further,” says Professor Balducci.
“We will work on other projects to better understand the advantages and limitations of using this abundant material so it can then be more widely used in sustainable energy storage production.”
The research is detailed in a study titled “Brewery waste derived activated carbon for high performance electrochemical capacitors and lithium-ion capacitors” published in the academic journals Electrochimica Acta and Energy Technology. .
The study forms part of a growing field of research into unusual materials that could be used as batteries in consumer electronics or large-capacity storage solutions for renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar.
Last year, scientists in the US developed a new type of biodegradable battery from crab shells, while this year a team from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis discovered that abandoned underground mines can be converted to store large amounts of energy using gravity batteries.