Scientists have discovered that used cigarette butts can prove to be helpful for environment as they can be used as green energy storage.
According to statistics, each year almost six trillion cigarettes are smoked all over the world that gives out over 800,000 metric tons of cigarette butts, which ends up either in landfills or in waterways. Now, scientists have discovered that these cigarette butts’ waste can actually be useful as they can store hydrogen.
Chemists from the University of Nottingham discovered that cigarette butts when exposed to a process known as hydrothermal carbonization, which requires only water and heat, create a carbon product known as hydrochar. Just as the hydrochar gets activated, it produces oxygen-rich porous carbons. The carbons comprise high surface area that is used to preserve extremely high volumes of hydrogen. When the product is burned for generating heat or if it is reacted with air in order to produce electricity, it gives off only water as its by-product making hydrogen a sustainable fuel alternative.
As per the chemists, this procedure can be later developed to detect the ‘hydrogen economy’ that can replace gas in cars or can be used as heating fuel making it a cleaner and more sustainable option, informed Ubergizmo.
Phys.org wrote, according to the lead researcher Robert Mokaya, “We have utilized cigarette butt waste as starting material to prepare energy materials that offer unprecedented hydrogen storage properties. This may not only address an intractable environmental pollution problem – cigarette butts – but also offers new insights into converting a major waste product into very attractive hydrogen storage materials.”