Ships' Exhaust Fumes and Battery Power: Where's the Link?

Thursday May 17, 2018

That darkened plume of smoke from a ship's stack, an image often used to illustrate air pollution from ships, could be put to a more beneficial use, new scientific research has shown.

Soot or exhaust particles which comes of ships' funnesl as unburned carbon can be converted into graphite, a different form of carbon widely used in lithium batteries, according to the results of research undertaken by South Korean scientist Jun Kang at the Korea Maritime and Ocean University in Busan science magazine Hakai reports.

Graphite and soot are composed of the same basic material, carbon atoms, but their internal structures are different. Soot also contains impurities — the various compounds left over from burning, the report said.

But under extreme temperatures, soot can be transformed into graphite.

In the study, Kang and his team heated soot extracted from a ship's economizer [part of a ship's exhaust system] at very high temperatures burning out impurities and causing the carbon atoms to yield tiny graphite particles, according to the article.