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April 9, 2014

Trees could be used to develop future energy storage devices

Supercapacitors could be incorporated in computers and consumer electronic devices, such as flash in a digital camera.

By CBR Staff Writer

Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have discovered a new process to convert cellulose from trees into a vital component of supercapacitors.

In a major breakthrough, researchers developed a carbon-based substance with nanoscale pores by heating cellulose together with ammonia and transformed into the building blocks for supercapacitors.

OSU College of Science assistant professor of chemistry Xiulei Ji said that the ease, speed and potential of this process is really exciting.

"We are going to take cheap wood and turn it into a valuable high-tech product," he added.

The process also allows producing nitrogen-doped, nanoporous carbon membranes, which are the electrodes of a supercapacitor.

"For the first time we have proven that you can react cellulose with ammonia and create these N-doped nanoporous carbon membranes," Ji said.

Supercapacitors, which can be recharged faster compared to a battery, have wide range of applications from electronics to automobiles and aviation including computers and consumer electronics, such as the flash in a digital camera.

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