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Researchers Bet in Microwaves to Power New Battery Technologies

New battery expertise involving microwaves may provide an avenue for renewable energy conversion and storage.

Researchers Bet in Microwaves to Power New Battery Technologies

Purdue University researchers created a technique to turn waste polyethylene terephthalate, one of the most recyclable polymers, into components of batteries.

The Purdue team tried the strategy with both lithium-ion and sodium-ion battery cells. They worked with researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology and Tufts College. The battery expertise is presented in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

“We use an ultrafast microwave irradiation process to show PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, flakes into disodium terephthalate, and use that as battery anode materials,” stated Vilas Pol, a Purdue associate professor of chemical engineering. He has also worked with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to develop battery technologies.

Pol mentioned that whereas lithium-ion technology is at the moment dominating both the portable electronics and electric vehicles market, sodium-ion battery research additionally has gained vital attention due to its low value and interesting electrochemical efficiency in grid applications.

“The applicability of the microwave method on natural reactions has gained attention in current times because of its benefit of the rapid response process,” Pol stated. “We have now accomplished the whole conversion of PET to disodium terephthalate inside 120 seconds, in a typical household microwave setup.”

Pol stated the materials used within the Purdue technology are low-cost, sustainable, and recyclable.

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