Green Chemistry Solution: Plastic Bags to Batteries by Argonne National Lab

Plastic bags is one of the biggest waste problems around the environment. In fact, they could be recycled into carbon nanotubes, a component in lithium ion batteries. At Argonne National Laboratory, 25-miles southwest of Chicago, Vilas Pol has developed a way to not only recycle plastic bags, but also make them into an energy resource of valuable batteries for cell phones and laptops.

How is the process? I quoted from news,

With cobalt acetate as a catalyst, plastic bags were heated to 1,292 degrees Fahrenheit, which caused the carbon in the plastic to grow as nanotubes on the cobalt particles, Pol said, noting the process could be used on plastic water bottles and plastic cups.

The cobalt acetate, which is relatively expensive, could be recovered when the batteries were recycled, Pol said. Performing the process without cobalt acetate yields carbon spheres that could be used in printer ink.

Yet to be determined is how to collect enough bags to make the project cost efficient, Pol said. Recycling programs find the bags difficult to collect because they often get swept up in air currents, causing a problem for curbside collectors and recycling centers.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

So, nowadays, we could not only recycle the plastic bags into craft, but also into energy resource. That’s very useful. The ArgonneNationalLab has published the video about this plastic bags batteries. Perhaps after watching this video, we can try making it at home? Who knows. Let’s check it out!

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