Recently, a team of scientists from the University of Dhaka and the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Saudi Arabia has jointly invented algae derived carbon for high performance supercapacitor application. This carbon was isolated from a microalgae, locally known as Pithophora polymorpha algae (or “Shewla” [শেওলা]), in Bangladesh. Professor Dr. Mohammed Almujaddade Alfasane from the Department of Botany, University of Dhaka and Dr. Md. Abdul Aziz and his team of King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Saudi Arabia led the experiment. They prepared heteroatoms-enriched hierarchical porous carbon by directly pyrolyzing the filaments of Pithophora polymorpha without chemical activation and successive electrodeposition of polyaniline on the prepared carbon. The resulting composite was used as a supercapacitor electrode for energy storage. A paper on the work was published in a reputed journal, Journal of Energy Storage (Shah et al. 2020).
This technology will become an attractive power solution to an increasing number of applications, such as renewable energy power generation, transportation, power system, and many others, because of its advantages including high charge/discharge current capability, high power density, very high efficiency, and a wide temperature range. Besides, the algal carbon and cellulose can be used as an absorbent sheet, biofuel, paper making electrochemical and biochemical gas sensors in water purification, water separation, and in the manufacture of necessary materials and small parts for complex devices. Even the carbon produced from algae can be used to synthesize various biological materials. Considering the technological, environmental, economic, and social contribution of algae, the researchers conclude that the proper use of algae by applying nanotechnology will lead to a greater prosperity in the future.
Reference: Shah SS, Alfasane MA, Bakare IA, Aziz, MA and Yamani ZH. 2020. Polyaniline and heteroatoms–enriched carbon derived from Pithophora polymorpha composite for high performance supercapacitor. Journal of Energy Storage, 30, 101562; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.est.2020.101562.