Powerful Peanuts That Pack A Punch

Two Purdue University engineers are turning your environmentally-unfriendly shipping fluff into energy.

A child swimming in a pool full of could-be rechargeable battery fodder. Photo by Ian Soper/Flickr

Packing peanuts are environmental devils. Sure, they’re fun to pinch and tear apart and sometimes even bite to feel the unnatural squelch between your teeth (just me?), but Vilas Pol and Vinodkumar Etacheri, two chemical engineers out of Purdue University, have fortunately figured out a method to utilize the difficult to degrade stuffing for good—into energy. The crafty pair is turning those demon peanuts into pieces for rechargeable batteries. According to Gizmodo, Pol and Vinodkumar have “devised a way to turn peanuts into carbon micro sheets and nanoparticles that can serve as anodes in lithium ion batteries,” with Pol reporting that “the new anode outperforms graphite-based anodes currently on the market, with 15 percent higher electrical storage capacity.”

For those who are particularly chemistry fluent, check out the video below to see the engineers in action.

“The beauty of our process is we can scale it up very easily,” Pol says in the video, “You take a totally useless thing and make something useful for the society.”