This fruit reeks, but it may one day power your phone

Ever smell a durian fruit? Don't. Think of it as nature's stinky battery.

Image source: JohnWick2/Shutterstock
  • New research finds that jackfruit and durian, often called the world's smelliest fruit, make outstanding supercapacitors.
  • Supercapacitors are useful because they can be used as infinitely rechargeable batteries.
  • The study, published in the Journal of Energy Storage, also demonstrates the development of carbon aerogels for the bodies of the fruit batteries.
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New technique turns junk into valuable graphene

Graphene is insanely useful, but very difficult to produce — until now.

Jeff Fitlow
  • Graphene is a lattice of carbon atoms arranged in a chicken-wire formation, a structure that makes it very useful for a wide range of applications.
  • However, it's been very difficult and expensive to make.
  • This new technique cuts down on the cost and difficulty by flash heating any carbon-based material, such as used coffee grounds or plastic waste.
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New membrane enables us to harvest 'osmotic' energy from water

You've likely heard of solar energy, but what is osmotic energy?

  • Osmotic power plants harvest energy from the difference in pressure or salinity between salt and freshwater using a semi-permeable membrane.
  • One of the major challenges for this kind of renewable energy, however, has been developing effective and durable membranes.
  • Now, new research demonstrates a durable and effective membrane that could significantly improve osmotic energy collection.
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Image source: Rene Böhmer/Unsplash
  • The clothing of the future will look nothing like what we wear today. Or maybe it will.
  • A hunger for sustainability is leading researchers to new organic materials from which to design clothing.
  • Other visionaries are working to make our future outfits as smart as we want to look.
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The next clean energy source? Snow.

Researchers from UCLA invent a device that generates electricity from a rather unusual source.

Photo credit: Bryce Evans on Unsplash
  • UCLA scientists have invented a cheap, flexible, and simple device called snow-TENG that generates electricity when it comes into contact with snow.
  • Scientists have known that snow carries an electrical charge for several decades, but this device is one of the first to capitalize on that effect.
  • The researchers believe that snow-TENG could be used in movement-tracking applications or as a simple weather station that requires no battery to operate.
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