While it's hard to find the good in harmful algal blooms (HABs), such as the one that afflicted Lake Erie last year, scientists think they can be converted into a material for high-capacity, low-cost electrode for sodium-ion, or Na-ion, batteries.
By converting the algae to hard carbon by a simple heat treatment, it can serve as a source for sodium-ion batteries (which cost significantly less than lithium-ion batteries). Researchers, led by Dr. Da Deng at Wayne State University in Detroit, made the discovery after collecting samples from Lake Erie's seasonal algae bloom this August, 2015.
"The Toledo water crisis in 2014 caused by HABs in Lake Erie is a vivid example of their powerful and destructive impact. The existing technologies to mitigate HABs are considered a passive technology and have certain limitations," said Dr. Da Deng in an interview with Phys.org. "It would significantly and broadly impact our society and environment if alternative technologies could be developed to convert HABs into functional high-value products."
The researchers heated the HABs to temperatures between 700 to 1000 degrees Celsius in argon gas; afterwards, electrodes were made out of a mixture of 80% hard carbon derived from algae, 10% carbon black and 10% binder.
The full article is available here or through the link below.