Nature reports on a new way to turn ship exhaust into an energy source. Dr. Jun Kang at the Korea Maritime and Ocean University in South Korea has devised a way to capture soot from diesel engines and use it to make lithium-ion batteries (LIBs):
Soot collected from a ship was graphitized by a heat treatment process and used as an anode active material. It was confirmed that the graphitized soot was converted into a highly crystalline graphite, and was found to form carbon nano-onions with an average diameter of 70 nm. The graphitized soot showed a high discharge capacity and an excellent cycle life, with a reversible capacity of 260 mAhg−1 even after 150 cycles at a rate of 1 C. This study demonstrates that the annealed soot with a unique graphitic multilayer structure has an electrochemical performance that renders it suitable as a candidate for the production of low-cost anode materials for use in LIBs.
As explained in PLAINER LANGUAGE by Maritime Executive:
The researchers collected waste soot generated by ships and graphitized using a heat treatment process. This was then used as an anode material. The study confirmed that the material showed a high discharge capacity and excellent cycle life properties.
About 80 percent of the soot from diesel engines is carbon, and according to international estimates, the annual quantity of exhaust particles emitted from shipping is between 0.9 and 1.7 million tons. … An ocean-going 5,300-TEU container ship accumulates over 1,000 liters per year of soot collected when cleaning the economizer and taken ashore for disposal.