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Published on : Mar 25, 2015

A team of researchers at Purdue University have innovated a path-breaking method of transforming the peanut-shaped packing materials which are usually discarded into rechargeable battery components that can easily outperform the ones which are presently available in the market.

The research was revealed and described by Ph.D., Vinodkumar Etacheri, at the 249th Edition of the National Meeting & Exposition organized by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Speaking of the research, Etacheri said that packing materials are light in weight, which makes them ideal components for packing as well protecting objects that are fragile. However, these materials can pose some threat when it comes to disposing them. The packing materials take up a good amount of space in the landfill and the cost of transporting them to a recycling center is also very high. Moreover, the option of recycling these materials is not a very cost effective one. 

These packing materials are harmful for environment. New or recycled polystyrene is used in their manufacture. This is the same molecule which was ones used for the production of Styrofoam. But they discontinued its use long back, since the molecule emitted ozone-depleting gases called CFCs. 

These packing materials dumped in the landfills contain harmful substances such as chlorides, metals, and phthalates that easily leach in the environment deteriorating soil and water quality. Market is introduced with new versions of packing materials although which are promoted as more environmentally friendly, yet they are not benign either. These starch based alternatives to traditional packing materials also contain detergents and chemicals which possess high potential of contaminating the ecosystems. 

The researchers were successful in converting the packing materials into high tech nano-particles that could be used in rechargeable batteries with the help of innovative process that they developed.