Plastic garbage has become a headache for modern mayors. Its number has grown so much that it does not fit in the landfills already designated for garbage. Environmentalists are sounding the alarm around the world – plastic pollutes the earth and oceans. Plastic recycling is expensive and therefore not profitable – commercial companies are reluctant to undertake it. But all this may change in the coming year’s thanks to the discovery of scientists from Purdue University.
The Americans found out that the plastic used for the production of bottles can be quickly and inexpensively processed into the desired and demanded material. It can be used in the construction of batteries. At the same time, the characteristics of such batteries are noticeably improved. The discovery could mark a breakthrough that will make recycling commercially attractive.
It all started with the fact that researchers began to closely study the electrochemical properties of the substance disodium terephthalate. This is one of the forms of polyethylene terephthalate, which is used in the manufacture of PET containers. It turned out that they can successfully replace the anodes of lithium-ion batteries while improving the characteristics of the latter. The difficulty was that it was necessary to find an inexpensive way to convert polyethylene terephthalate to disodium terephthalate.
And it was found! Scientists used microwave radiation. The raw material placed in the installation chamber takes the form of disodium terephthalate in 120 seconds. Energy, as well as financial costs, at the same time, tend to zero. The advantages of anodes made of new material are not only cheap but also environmentally friendly.