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Sustainable design of flexible 3D aerogel from waste PET bottle for wastewater treatment to energy harvesting device

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kheng-Lim GohORCiD


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This article describes an experimental study on a simple and cost-effective approach to recycle waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) scraps that can resolve the environmental pollution, namely plastic and water pollution, as well as to provide an alternative green energy source to fossil fuels. A three-dimensional (3D) nanofiber-based aerogel, which is extremely soft, flexible, fluffy yet structurally durable, was fabricated by electrospinning process using scrap PET bottles as raw materials. Surface modification of the aerogel was performed to enhance its versatility and efficacy. This aerogel is a sustainable material because it can function as an adsorbent with extremely high capability in removing various heavy metals such as Pb(II), Hg(II), and Zn(II) from the contaminated water with adsorption capacity between 94.5-98.3% under optimum experimental conditions. This aerogel was also used as a substrate in a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG). The maximum value of the peak voltage and current were found to be 67.6V and 9.4 µA, respectively. The TENG was able to lit up nearly 36 colorful LEDs instantaneously upon hand pressing, owing to its unique 3D configuration and surface chemistry. Moreover, the TENG displayed outstanding durability and fatigue resistance over time when subjected to several thousands of mechanical loading cycles.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Roy S, Maji PK, Goh KL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Chemical Engineering Journal

Year: 2021

Volume: 413

Print publication date: 01/06/2021

Online publication date: 23/10/2020

Acceptance date: 15/10/2020

ISSN (print): 1385-8947

ISSN (electronic): 1873-3212

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2020.127409


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