Most of us know by now that smoking is not good for your health. Heck, even smokers can admit that fact, but yet many people around the world smoke anyway. That being said, it seems that at least there is some good that could come out of smoking and cigarettes, and that is through discarded cigarette butts which could be used as green energy storage.

This is according to research conducted by Robert Mokaya, Professor of Materials Chemistry, and Troy Scott Blankenship, an undergraduate project student, in the School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham, where they found that cigarette butts when exposed to a process called hydrothermal carbonisation can create a carbon product called hydrochar.

Hydrochar when activated can generate oxygen-rich porous carbons with a high surface area, which in turn could be used to store high volumes of hydrogen. In turn hydrogen can be used for all kinds of things, such as powering our cars since the only byproduct is water, making it a cleaner and more sustainable option.

According to Moyoka, “We have utilised 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.”

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