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Researchers have found a way to transform glass bottles into electric car batteries

via psyberartist / flickr and Kārlis Dambrāns / flickr

Americans throw away enough glass every week to fill a 1,350-foot building. Glass takes up to a million years to completely decompose in a landfill, but it's easy to recycle, so there's no reason we should ever have to make anymore glass. We already have enough.

But, sadly, that's not how the world works.

When we do recycle glass it does far more good that most people consider. Recycling one ton of glass saves the following:


  • 42 kWh of electricity
  • 5 gallons of oil714.3 Btu's of energy
  • 2 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 7.5 pounds of air pollutants from being released
  • 1,330 pounds of sand.

Researchers have found a brilliant way to reuse glass that not only saves energy by being recylced, but actually generates power. They have figured out how to take used glass bottles and transform them into high-performance lithium-ion batteries — the kind that could power an electric car.

via UC Riverside

Not only are the batteries eco-friendly, but they are powerful as well. The researchers found a way to make them last longer and provide more electricity batteries by using silicon anodes — an electrode through which the current enters into an electrical device — instead of traditional graphite.

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"Today graphite is used as the main commercial material for fabricating the anode electrodes," Cengiz Ozkan, a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Riverside explained.

"We replaced graphite in the anodes with our new nanosilicon material derived from waste glass bottles," he continued. "In the half-cell configuration, our batteries demonstrate performance about four times higher compared to graphite anode batteries."
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering used a three-step process to use a discarded glass bottle into lithium-ion batteries.

First, they rushing and grinding the glass bottles into a fine white powder. Second, they used hot magnesium to reduce to the silicon dioxide into nanostructured silicon. Finally, they coated the silicon nanoparticles with carbon to improve their stability and energy storage properties.

"We started with a waste product that was headed for the landfill and created batteries that stored more energy, charged faster, and were more stable than commercial coin cell batteries. Hence, we have very promising candidates for next-generation lithium-ion batteries," Changling Li, a graduate student in materials science and engineering and lead author on the paper, said.

This isn't the researchers' first attempts to create batteries out of alternative materials.

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"In the past, we have demonstrated lithium-ion battery anodes fabricated using bio-mass (mushrooms), beach sand, and diatom fossils as nature-abundant precursor materials," Mihri Ozkan, a professor of electrical engineering, told Design News.

"Such natural resources can help reduce the cost of lithium-ion batteries, as well as minimize the carbon footprint from graphite-based anodes in lithium-ion batteries," she continued.

The researchers at UC Riverside may be working on some great advancements in the field of mechanical engineering, but their work also points to an important fact we should all understand. When we throw away "disposable" material such as glass or aluminum we should never forget that we are discarding something with enormous potential.

Innovators
via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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Pixabay

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

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Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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