The cigarette butts mainly considered as pollutants in atmosphere. The researchers have discovered a major use in used cigarette butts.
Across the approximately more than 800,000 metric tons of cigarette butts generated. At the University of Nottingham the chemists have found that carbons in used cigarette butts possess high hydrogen storage capacity and unknown surface area.
The research by Robert Mokaya, Professor of Materials Chemistry, he said “We have utilized cigarette butt waste as starting material to prepare energy materials that offer unprecedented hydrogen storage properties. This may not only address an intractable environmental pollution problem cigarette butts. But also offers new insights into converting a major waste product into very attractive hydrogen storage materials.”
Cigarette butts produce a carbon product known as Hydrochar
Used cigarette butts contain cellulose acetate a non-biodegradable compound. However, the cellulose acetate makes valorization to porous carbons. Valorization to move away from coal-based carbonaceous precursors to biomass-derived or waste-based starting materials for porous carbon synthesis.
The cigarette butts produce a carbon product known as Hydrochar. The carbon product gained involving heat and water by the process known as Hydrothermal Carbonization. During activation of Hydrochar it produces oxygen rich porous carbons with high surface area.
Professor Mokaya said: “We show that activated carbons derived from cigarette butts or filters, via sequential benign hydrothermal carbonization and activation, are super porous with ultra-high surface area and exhibit high hydrogen storage capacity. This raises the question of whether valorization can solve the intractable cigarette butt problem. But also offers porous carbons that attain new levels of hydrogen storage for porous materials in general.”
Further, research ongoing for sustainable carbons with properties as hydrogen storage including energy materials.