The design of the most common lithium-ion batteries is already difficult to improve, but scientists see great potential in finding new materials for its components. This search led scientists from Purdue University (USA) to the substance disodium terephthalate. Recently, they have successfully tested the technology of obtaining it from ordinary plastic bottles.
Disodium terephthalate is the form of polyethylene terephthalate or PET that most commercial disposable bottles are made from. That is, there is an incredible amount of raw materials in the form of garbage deposits on the planet. The question is how to recycle it quickly and inexpensively - and the answer was found in the use of microwave radiation.
American scientists crushed the plastic into small flakes, and then exposed them to microwave radiation for 120 seconds. As a result, the flakes baked into a kind of "flowers" from many petals, taking the form of disodium terephthalate, convenient for creating from it anodes of lithium-ion batteries. The authors of the development emphasize that they used an analogue of a household microwave, and therefore the cost of the plastic processing process is close to zero.
Disodium terephthalate has far better electrochemical characteristics than the mixture of graphite and copper, which is now used to make battery anodes. And this is an environmentally friendly material, although it is a kind of plastic, but not toxic and fully recyclable. While it was cheap PET, nobody was interested in it, but making batteries is a completely different matter. This promises profit and can stimulate the global recycling of waste on the planet.