Can Schmaltz be Energy Storage?

When I read that scientists are converting chicken fat into energy storage devices, I immediately thought of Schmaltz. Researchers published an ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces report on a method to transform chicken fat into carbon-based electrodes for supercapacitors that store energy and power LEDs. Amazing.

Last year, global renewable energy increased by nearly 50% over the previous year, but the problem is storing that excess energy. Efforts to design high-performance storage devices have taken advantage of carbon materials, including graphene, given its efficient charge transportation and natural abundance. However, fabrication is expensive and generates pollution.

Mohan Reddy Pallavolu, Jae Hak Jung, Sang Woo Joo, and colleagues wanted to develop a simple, cost-effective method for converting waste chicken fat into electrically conductive nanostructures for supercapacitor energy storage devices.

The researchers used a gas flame gun to render the fat from a chicken and burned the melted oil using a flame wick. They collected the soot on the bottom of a flask that contained carbon-based nanostructures that were uniform spherical lattices of concentric graphite rings. They then enhanced the electrical characteristics of the nanoparticles by soaking them in a solution of thiourea.

Chicken fat-sourced carbon nanoparticles demonstrated good capacitance, durability, high energy, and power density. Researchers showed that the new supercapacitor could perform real-time applications, charging and connecting two of them to light up red, green, and blue LEDs.

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