Durian fruit waste could be used to power environmentally-friendly electronics

Waste from durian – the tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia known for its overpowering stench and spikey skin – can be used to create energy stores for rapid electric charging, according to new research.

Researchers at the University of Sydney have found a method for extracting durian and jackfruit biowaste for more efficient, ultra-quick electric chargers. The process involves turning the guts of the fruit into supercapacitors or energy reservoirs that can store vast amounts of energy.

Supercapacitors can quickly store large amounts of energy within a small battery-sized device and then supply energy to charge electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops, within a few seconds.

Durian fruit biowaste is an environmentally-friendly substance for use as a battery, which does not pollute the environment and contribute to climate change.

The non-toxic and non-hazardous green engineering method deployed by Professor Vincent Gomes and his team involved heating in water and freeze-drying the fruit’s biomass in order to transform the durian and jackfruit waste into stable carbon aerogels – an extremely light and porous synthetic material used for a range of applications.

Describing the process in The Journal of Energy Storage, Professor Vincent Gomes said: “Carbon aerogels make great super-capacitors because they are highly porous. We then used the fruit-derived aerogels to make electrodes which we tested for their energy storage properties, which we found to be exceptional.”

While durian fruit is an acquired taste for those who can get passed the smell and choose to eat it, its biowaste is also a sustainable source which could be used in the development of environmentally-friendly electronics.

Professor Vincent Gomes added: “Durian waste, as a zero-cost substance that the community wants to get rid of urgently due to its repulsive, nauseous smell, is a sustainable source that can transform the waste into a product to substantially reduce the cost of energy storage through our chemical-free, green synthesis protocol.

“We have reached a point where we must urgently discover and produce ways to create and store energy using sustainably-sourced materials that do not contribute to global warming.

“Confronted with this and the world’s rapidly depleting supplies of fossil fuels, naturally-derived super-capacitors are leading the way for developing high-efficiency energy storage devices.”

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

 

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