Radical Innovations: Repurposing Textile Dyes to Create Batteries!

Some may think the title sounds too weird to be true. Amazingly enough, it's the real deal! Methylene blue, a chemical that's used for both textile dyeing and pharmaceutical applications, is being considered as another possible source for renewable energy. This developing science could have a positive impact on our environment, considering methylene blue can be harmful to the health of us and other organisms that rely on Earth's watersheds. All in all, it’s not something that should be released into the environment without somehow treating it. Given these substances must be removed from wastewater before being released into our ecosystem, additional energy and/or substances must also be used to achieve this result. Using the dye to produce electric power, however, may provide a more energy efficient solution. 

To be more specific about the science without risk of boring anyone, the recent research demonstrated that methylene blue can perform important tasks related to energy storage. The study's results ultimately suggest that this material is viable for the production of liquid batteries. Future possibilities for this science are exciting: we may be able to repurpose this environmentally-harmful substance to allow solar homes and wind farms of the future to stockpile electricity on days where the weather isn't ideal (i.e. cloudy or wind-free days). Additionally, research like this could open doors to other harmful waste products being reused for energy. This would be much more neutral to our environment in comparison to the common procedure: using energy to remove the harmful substances from waste. While the investigation is ongoing, an innovation like this is truly exciting for the future of renewable energy!


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