Coconut husk (CH), a solid biowaste derived from coconut, is typically used in household items, such as doormats. Recent studies have shown that CH is rich in lignocellulose, which can make for energy-related applications of CH.
To this end, a global team of researchers, in a new study, make use of CH to develop self-powered energy storage and harvesting devices, achieving high energy density and output performance, and opening doors to a circular economy.
Coconut is a valuable source of nutrition due to its high fat content. Additionally, the edible part can be processed into coconut milk or coconut oil, and the liquid inside the fruit, called coconut water, is used in beverages. However, a major portion of the coconut, namely the outer shell called “coconut husk” (CH), is not edible and constitutes a solid waste.
Until now, CH has mainly found use in cheap household items, such as carpets and doormats. However, recent studies have suggested that CH is rich in lignocellulose, a natural bioresource that can decrease energy utilization. This could open doors to potential applications of CH in the design of eco-friendly, low-power energy devices.
In a recent study published in Sustainable Materials and Technologies ("Bio-waste composites for cost-effective self-powered breathing patterns monitoring: An insight into energy harvesting and storage properties"), an international research team led by Prof. Hoe Joon Kim from Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Korea decided to test this idea.
By combining CH powder with a polymer called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), a piezoelectric material, i.e., a material that can generate electricity from mechanical stress, they managed to fabricate energy storage and harvesting devices using cheap and easily accessible fabrication methods.
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