Recycling your rice

Nature doesn’t know the concept of waste – and we humans are continually learning from it. Researchers just found a way of taking advantage of rice-husks, the outer protective layers of the rice plant. So far, they were only recycled into pest control, bio-fertilizer additives, and low quality animal feed. But it turns out that these porous protections can be used to make our batteries more efficient.

The problem is that our current batteries aren’t doing a good enough job in keeping our products charged. Think about smartphones, medical devices like Pacemakers and hearing aids, and electric cars. By using the silica in rice-husks, we are advancing to a higher charged and longer-lasting battery, a necessity in our ever-growing tech-savvy world.

New research shows that rice-husks can be chemically treated to improve the lifespan of our batteries. Currently, batteries are made of graphite electrodes – tools through which electricity leaves and enters an object – and by switching to silicon electrodes, a battery can hold ten times more charge. The only problem is that silicon-based batteries degenerate much more quickly than graphite-based ones. This is called “capacity fade”, and Jang Wook Choi of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is working on a way to improve this. Transforming the silica that is found in rice-husks into pure silicon is a difficult and complicated process, but succeeding means helping improve the charge capacity and lifespan of batteries, an important task as the use of cell phone and electric cars only increases.

Rice-husks are the ventilated outer layers that protect rice from bacteria and insects. By focusing on the permeable properties of the rice-husks, Choi thought that the holes in the husks that provide ventilation to the rice plant during its growth should be able to help ions during charging and discharging process. Converting the rice husk silica into pure silicon battery electrodes resulted in a better battery lifespan, even being charged and discharged 200 times – an immense improvement when compared to the original synthetic silicon electrodes which began fading only after 10 to 15 charges.

While this process is still very expensive, there is likely a more cost-effective way of creating pure silicon out of rice-husks, since similar heating processes already exist. Rice husks weren’t always porous or filled with silica – they evolved to the needs of their environment. Like the rice-husks, science is evolving to meet both our energy and technology needs. Improving lifespan of batteries is critical, and this recent discovery gives us hope that there is an attainable method for achieving this.

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Solution News Source

Recycling your rice

Nature doesn’t know the concept of waste – and we humans are continually learning from it. Researchers just found a way of taking advantage of rice-husks, the outer protective layers of the rice plant. So far, they were only recycled into pest control, bio-fertilizer additives, and low quality animal feed. But it turns out that these porous protections can be used to make our batteries more efficient.

The problem is that our current batteries aren’t doing a good enough job in keeping our products charged. Think about smartphones, medical devices like Pacemakers and hearing aids, and electric cars. By using the silica in rice-husks, we are advancing to a higher charged and longer-lasting battery, a necessity in our ever-growing tech-savvy world.

New research shows that rice-husks can be chemically treated to improve the lifespan of our batteries. Currently, batteries are made of graphite electrodes – tools through which electricity leaves and enters an object – and by switching to silicon electrodes, a battery can hold ten times more charge. The only problem is that silicon-based batteries degenerate much more quickly than graphite-based ones. This is called “capacity fade”, and Jang Wook Choi of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is working on a way to improve this. Transforming the silica that is found in rice-husks into pure silicon is a difficult and complicated process, but succeeding means helping improve the charge capacity and lifespan of batteries, an important task as the use of cell phone and electric cars only increases.

Rice-husks are the ventilated outer layers that protect rice from bacteria and insects. By focusing on the permeable properties of the rice-husks, Choi thought that the holes in the husks that provide ventilation to the rice plant during its growth should be able to help ions during charging and discharging process. Converting the rice husk silica into pure silicon battery electrodes resulted in a better battery lifespan, even being charged and discharged 200 times – an immense improvement when compared to the original synthetic silicon electrodes which began fading only after 10 to 15 charges.

While this process is still very expensive, there is likely a more cost-effective way of creating pure silicon out of rice-husks, since similar heating processes already exist. Rice husks weren’t always porous or filled with silica – they evolved to the needs of their environment. Like the rice-husks, science is evolving to meet both our energy and technology needs. Improving lifespan of batteries is critical, and this recent discovery gives us hope that there is an attainable method for achieving this.

Did you get your free issue of the Intelligent Optimist?  Click here for a free download.

Solution News Source

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