In May, Australian researchers announced that they had found a way to use the tropical fruits durian and jackfruit to develop a new form of energy storage that is both cost-effective and double-sustainable, from both waste management and environmental perspectives.
The study was conducted at the University of Sydney and was centred on the cores of both durian and jackfruit, which are generally discarded as food waste because only the flesh of both fruits, which surround large inedible seeds, are consumable.
The secret to this lay in the naturally-occurring carbon structures of the fruit cores, described as ‘fibrous’ and fleshy’, and which properties allowed for the effective storage of energy with some engineering.
“Using durian and jackfruit purchased from a market, we converted the fruits’ waste portions (biomass) into super-capacitors that can be used to store electricity efficiently,” said study co-author Associate Professor Vincent Gomes.
“[The fruit biomass was] heated in water and freeze-dried [to be] transformed into stable carbon aerogels — an extremely light and porous synthetic material used for a range of applications [including as] super-capacitors.”