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Durian leftovers could end up charging your phone

Deemed the stinkiest of fruits, the durian is a common sight in parts of South East Asia. Recent findings by scientists have revealed that underneath that pungent scent is an efficient and natural electric charger. Yeah, apparently durians can be a great energy store and can even end up charging stuff like smartphones and electric vehicles.

Vincent G. Gomes, an associate professor from the University of Sydney had co-written a scientific paper on the process of extracting durian and jackfruit biowaste and converting them into supercapacitors with high energy density. 

Gomes and his team had stated in their paper that “The structural precision of natural biomass with their hierarchical pores, developed over millions of years of biological evolution, affords an outstanding resource as a template for the synthesis of carbon-based materials.” The paper was published earlier this month in the Journal of Energy Storage.

According to Gomes and his team of scientists, it’s the fibrous, fleshy portions of organic waste that makes it ideal — the sponge-like physical characteristics are likely to produce electrodes with high porosity. 

But, this isn’t to say that you should go out and replace all your power banks with Musang Kings just yet (though that would make your life so much more interesting). The preparation that goes into this is quite a dextrous and tedious one. Inedible cores of the fruit need to be rinsed with deionised water and hydrothermal treatment of the wet samples need to be conducted. Then they will be freeze-dried and proceed to a process of carbonisation in a furnace followed by overnight cooling.

The researchers hope that this revelation could lead to wider adoption of sustainably-produced electrode materials that are also largely inexpensive. Gomes and his team state in their paper that “Converting food wastes into value-added products will not only improve the overall economy but also reduce environmental pollution.”

Well, if eating more durians will help the environment, say no more. Malaysians are on the job!