Energize and Kick Butt

Here’s a new energy solution that kicks butts… literally!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

What’s one of the most toxic environmental pollutants? Cigarette butts! Tobacco waste is non-biodegradable. And it’s full of harmful chemicals!

Luckily, scientists in South Korea have discovered a kick-BUTT method to recycle used cigarette filters! It’s all about POWER!

Supercapacitors are powerful energy storage systems that deliver their juice more quickly than a typical battery. They are usually made of carbon, such as graphene or nanotubes.

Minzae Lee thought trashed cigarette butts would be great for coating supercapacitors. What’s the connection? They ALSO contain carbon based chemicals! And these carbon compounds can provide high power density, short charging time, and durability.

Lee decomposed cigarette butts using high heat to make a porous, sponge-like material that’s super durable. These recycled butts provide a high surface area and conduct energy efficiently.

This new carbon recipe might someday be used to store energy. Or power electric vehicles!

So everybody – keep lighting up those smokes, and save the world! Just kidding!