Scientists Turn Used Face Masks into Low-cost Batteries

Researchers from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST MISiS) in Russia believe their new technology can turn particular wastes into raw materials. Specifically, they claim they can produce cost-effective batteries from used medical face masks. In a study published in the Journal of Energy Storage, the researchers say the world uses north of 130 billion masks every month during the coronavirus pandemic. Those disposed of masks are then turned into hundreds of tons of polymer waste. Once burned, the polymer waste emits toxic gasses. The scientists from NUST MISiS worked with colleagues from Mexico and the United States to develop the technology. Cheaper than metal-coated conventional batteries, these thin, flexible batteries are also disposable and can be used for household appliances such as clocks and lamps. 

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