Northern China’s roadsides are lined with leaves from Phoenix trees, which turn into a problem when autumn rolls around. The abundance of leaves is usually burned when it starts to get cold, which just adds to China’s air pollution problem. Researchers in Shandong, China have discovered a new method to convert the organic waste matter into a porous carbon material that can be used to produce high-tech electronics.
The researchers used a multi-step process to convert tree leaves into a form that could be incorporated into electrodes as active materials. The dried leaves are first ground into a powder and then heated to 220 degrees Celsius for 12 hours. This produces a powder composed of tiny carbon microspheres. These microspheres were treated with a solution of potassium hydroxide and heated by increasing the temperature in a series of jumps from 450 to 800 C. Read more...