Glass Bottle Waste Helps Produce Energy

Michael Cameron

Most people are aware that bottle waste can be used to make new bottles, aggregate materials, and is used in landscaping; however, experts now say it can help produce energy too.

While electricity is a common source of energy, one limitation that often comes up is battery life. Shorter battery life for personal electronics like, laptops and phones may pose an inconvenience but it’s a major obstacle to greater adaptation of electric and plug-in electric hybrid forms of transportation. More than ever our lives are tied to battery life and the longer our batteries last the farther we go.

To extend battery life, researchers have been trying to replace traditional graphite anodes with silicon anodes. Silicon holds up to ten times more energy than conventional graphite anodes but this switch has proven to be challenging. Unlike graphite that expands about 10 percent when charged, silicon expands 300-400 percent. Expansion like this destroys the anode and after a single charge and discharge cycle, the capacity of the battery drops considerably. Fortunately, there is a potential solution.

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have figured out a way provide considerably more battery life. According to Environmental News Network, they’re producing non-particles of high quality silicon dioxide from glass bottle waste, along with a low-cost chemical process, to create silicon anodes for high performance lithium-ion batteries. Using this method, researchers have been able to create batteries that store almost four times more energy than conventional batteries.

By recycling waste and nearly creating something out of nothing, researchers are potentially stretching out not only how long we’ll be able to enjoy our personal devices, but more importantly, revolutionize our choices for travel and how far we can go with them.