Peach pits, walnut shells to power your cell phones

Power is the lifeline of a Cell Phone, without which the person holding the cell phone sounds very low. Cell Phones nowadays have emerged as an essential commodity for the people. We all know that knowledge is power, which has come from the fruit of Apple when the human evolution came into being.  So, vegetation is the historical backbone of the powerful human society. Now cell phones are coming at a fast pace to hold power in human beings and without power, the human is handicapped. 


Researchers at University of Kentucky, UK are examining whether peach pits and walnut shells can be used to create cheaper, long-lasting lithium-ion batteries. The three-year project led by Jian Shi, Assistant Professor in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will study whether lignin, a component of cell walls in woody plants and stone fruits can be efficiently extracted and processed with silicon nano-particles to form composite materials for battery electrodes. And if it’s successful, the researchers will be using the technology to produce batteries for cell phones and electric cars.

Shi said “The plant-derived materials could make these batteries last five times longer per charge than they do now”. “It’s cool to think that we could convert lignin, a waste product from agricultural residue, to new materials that greatly improve battery performance.”

UK researchers are also studying about peach pits and black walnut shells as both contain very high amounts of lignin. In addition, black walnuts are found throughout Kentucky, and peaches have been a historically important crop in the Southeast, making both readily available.

UK horticulture professor Seth DeBolt will evaluate potential food waste sources for their lignin content and the availability of each in the southeastern United States. DeBolt also conducted extensive research on the biosynthesis of lignin and cellulose in plants. "Tapping extra value from fruit wastes could benefit U.S. farmers," DeBolt said.

Once the lignin is extracted and processed with nano-particles in Shi’s lab, Yang-Tse Cheng, the Frank J. Derbyshire Professor of Materials Science in the UK College of Engineering will test its viability for lithium-ion batteries. Cheng has already successfully combined silicon with lignin from trees to make batteries.

Cheng anticipates that this multi-disciplinary project will stimulate thinking of new ways of turning plant wastes to energy storage materials and devices powering human progress. The project has the potential to greatly improve the economic viability of regional bio-energy systems and to generate extra revenue for US fruit and nut growers and processors.

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