Sustainable Polymer & Energy Open Access

ISSN: 2958-7700 (Online)

2958-7697 (Print)

Sustainable Polymer & Energy is an international and open-access journal that covers fundamental and applied science on sustainable polymers, and related energy storage and conversion technologies.

Editors-in-Chief

Articles (19) All articles

Review

14 June 2024

Biobased Vitrimers: A Sustainable Future

Vitrimers are crosslinked polymers containing dynamic covalent linkages. Because of their crosslinked structure, they are stable as thermosets at their service temperatures. At high enough temperatures, dynamic exchange reactions occur and rearrange the polymer network, thus vitrimers become malleable and reprocessable like thermoplastics. The dynamic covalent bonds can also undergo dissociative cleavage reactions under specific conditions, so vitrimers are inherently degradable. To achieve a sustainable future, various biomass resources have been used as raw materials in vitrimer preparation. This review summarizes recent developments in biobased vitrimers and highlights their preparation methods. The limitations of current biobased vitrimers are also discussed.

Article

31 May 2024

Solid Waste Recycling in Textile Processing Industries: A Case Study of India’s Clothing Hubs

This study investigated the type and amount of solid waste generation from textile wet processing industries and analyzed the disposal and recycling strategies implemented for its utilization. The method involved industrial interactions with textile processing mills. Data was gathered based on a field survey of manufacturing units and their compliance management teams. The solid waste generated in textile processing stages against input raw materials and fuel sources was recorded. The challenges in recycling solid waste are identified and further scope for its valorization is suggested. The results indicate that significant solid waste produced during the wet processing of textiles arises from waste fabric cuttings, combustion of fuels used in processing stages, and sludge generated from the post-effluent treatment. Around 80% of solid waste generated during the wet processing of textiles can find applications in the construction industry. Effective management of solid waste and its potential applications in construction are elaborated in detail.

Article

06 May 2024

Assessing Energy Emissions and Environmental Impact of Wool Processing: A Case Study of an Indian Textile Mill

The objective of this study is to investigate and analyze the effect of varying sources of energy inputs and their impact on carbon emissions during wool fiber processing. The method involved industrial visits to the textile wool processing mill and interaction with the manufacturing as well as commercial sourcing teams to gather relevant data.  The results and outcome of this analysis indicate that wool wet processing is responsible for a significant carbon emission of about 0.031 tCO2e/unit of production. Coal as a source of energy has the highest carbon emission 0.066 tCO2e/product, while the use of biomass and Pressurized Natural Gas (PNG) had significantly lower CO2 emissions. Further, this study evaluated the scope 1 and scope 2 category emissions produced at the wool processing stage which accounted for 56303.2 tCO2e and 1817.10 tCO2e respectively. 

Article

18 April 2024

Biodegradable Composite Materials Based on Cassava Starch and Reinforced with Topinambur (Helianthus tuberosus) Aerial Part Fiber

The cultivation of topinambur (Helianthus tuberosus) has aroused the interest of producers since it is a source of inulin and can be used for biofuel production. During tuber processing, the aerial part of the crop remains as a by-product with no practical application. This work aimed to characterize the fibers obtained from the aerial part of topinambur and to evaluate their reinforcing potential in cassava starch-based films. Starch-based films with topinambur fiber (0, 5, and 10%) were prepared by extrusion followed by thermocompression. Topinambur residue contains 88.6% of total fiber, 8.5% ash, and 0.68% lipid. Mechanical film properties evidenced the reinforcement action of topinambur fiber, 10% content was able to increase up to 70% the Young’s modulus. SEM micrographs evidenced the good fiber-matrix interaction. UV-visible capacity, opacity, and chromaticity parameters of TPS films increased with fiber content in the formulation. Fiber incorporation improved the hydrophobicity of the biocomposite materials by increasing the contact angle. Starch-based films biodegraded more than 55% after 110 days, showing a similar trend to that of microcrystalline cellulose. Thus, topinambur residue can be effectively used as a reinforcing agent for TPS materials, being an innovative and non-toxic additive within the circular economy premises.

Review

27 March 2024

Research Progress on Electrolyte Additives for Sodium Ion Batteries

In view of the gradual depletion of lithium resources, sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) have emerged as a viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). This is primarily attributed to their comparable operational principles and abundant reserves of sodium resources. As an essential component of the secondary battery, the electrolyte is of paramount importance in the functioning of SIBs, and the electrode-electrolyte interface constructed by it affects the battery performance. Adding electrolyte additives in LIBs is a low-cost and efficient method that can enhance the performance of the electrolyte and the interface between the electrode and electrolyte. This method is also applicable to SIBs. Therefore, in this study, we provide a comprehensive overview of various electrolyte additives, including but not limited to carbonate additives, sulfur-containing additives, silicon-containing additives, phosphorus-containing additives and inorganic additives. We extensively analyze the impact of these additives on the electrode-electrolyte interface and the electrochemical performance of SIBs. The purpose of this review is to comprehensively evaluate the current status of electrolyte additives in SIBs, which serves as both a basic overview of the existing situation and a practical guide for selecting suitable additives for practical applications of SIBs.

Article

08 March 2024

Green Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles for Catalytic Reduction of 4-Nitrophenol and Methylene Blue for Sustainable Development

Unique structural features and wide applications of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) are inspiring researchers to develop biocompatible, reliable and cost-effective methods for their synthesis. Herein, a clean, eco-friendly and non-toxic method to obtain GNPs was developed by reducing and capping the liquid extract of stem of Lilium longiflorum and highlights the catalytic reduction of 4-nitrophenol (4-NP) and methylene blue (MB). The formation of GNPs was confirmed through the absorption peak at 535 nm in the UV-Vis spectra. TEM and HRTEM analyses reveal GNPs spherical morphology with an average size of 4.97 nm. SEM and EDX analyses further elucidate the spherical nature of GNPs and elemental composition. FTIR spectroscopy analysis demonstrates that the GNPs were coated with organic compounds, which prevent the nanoparticle from aggregation. GNPs exhibit remarkable efficiency in reducing 4-NP and MB. The catalytic efficacy of the synthesized GNPs was demonstrated through the enhanced reduction rates of 4-NP and MB, with rate constants of 1.50 min−1 and 1.29 min−1, respectively. This study develops a novel and eco-friendly technique for the synthesis of gold nanoparticles and opens possibilities for the green synthesis of other metal nanoparticles. The confirmed catalytic activity holds promise for a range of industrial applications and environmental sustainability. 

Article

16 January 2024

Purification the Solvent for the Production of High-Density Polyethylene

The adsorption purification of gasoline fraction with NaX zeolites as a solvent for the production of high-density polyethylene at a large pilot plant with a layer height of the adsorbent layer from 1 to 8 m is considered. Removal of impurities of aromatic and unsaturated hydrocarbons, organosulfur impurities and water ensured the production of high-quality polyethylene. The main characteristics of the adsorption process (the dynamic activity of zeolite NaX, the length of the mass transfer zone) in a wide range of flow rates of the cleaned raw materials are determined, allowing the calculation of the adsorber without applying the principles of large-scale transition. 

Article

25 September 2023

Anion Exchange Membrane Reinforced with Polyethylene Substrate for Alkaline Fuel Cell Applications

To enhance mechanical robustness of our in-house anion exchange membrane (QPAF-4), the reinforcement technique was applied using ozone-treated, porous polyethylene (PE) thin film (Toray SETELA) as a substrate. Homogenous and flexible reinforced membranes (QPAF-4-PE, 15–20 µm thick) were obtained by bar-coating method. The cross-sectional SEM image and EDS analysis revealed triple-layered (sandwich-like) structure without detectable pinholes. The QPAF-4-PE with ion exchange capacity (IEC) of 1.48 meq·g−1 exhibited lower water uptake (15 wt% at 90% relative humidity) and slightly lower hydroxide ion conductivity (71 mS·cm−1 at 80 ℃) than those of the pristine QPAF-4 (IEC = 1.84 meq·g−1, 25 wt% water uptake and 82 mS·cm−1 of the conductivity). The reinforced QPAF-4-PE exhibited slightly higher viscoelasticity (particularly, in MD direction) due to the suppressed water absorbability. Furthermore, the elongation at break increased by 9.8% in TD direction and 6.3% in MD direction. An H2/O2 fuel cell using QPAF-4-PE as membrane was investigated at different back-pressure, in which the cell with 100 kPa back-pressure onto the cathode side only achieved the maximum performance (176 mW·cm−2 at current density of 364 mA·cm−2) and the longest durability for (>200 h) at a constant current density of 100 mA·cm−2 maintaining 0.43 V of the cell voltage (67% remaining). The durability was eight times longer than that with ambient pressure and two times longer than that with back-pressure on both sides.

Article

08 September 2023

Synthesis and Characterization of Cyclic Carbonate End-Functional Linear and Star Polyesters via Ring-Opening Polymerization

Well-defined α-(cyclic carbonate), ω-hydroxyl heterotelechelic poly (D,L-lactide)s (PDLLAs) were prepared with good end-group fidelity by ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of D,L-lactide catalyzed by organo catalyst namely, N,N′ dimethyl amino pyridine (DMAP) in conjunction with a renewable, functional bio-based initiator namely glycerol 1,2-carbonate (GC) in bulk at 135 °C with 82% yield. In the case of GC/DMAP catalyzed polymerizations, the HO-PDLLA-COOH series was not observed in MALDI TOF mass analysis unlike as obtained due to transesterification reactions when catalyzed by GC/Sn(Oct)2. Also, cyclic carbonate end-functional 4-arm star poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) was prepared via coupling of GC with (PCL-COOH)4 at room temperature in the presence of N,N′-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCC) and DMAP. Quantitative conversion of hydroxyl functionality in (PCL-OH)4 to carboxylic acid and then to cyclic carbonate functionality was achieved with 90% yield for low molecular weight 4-arm star PCL confirmed by NMR, FT-IR, and MALDI TOF mass spectroscopy.

Review

15 August 2023

Green Composites Using Naturally Occurring Fibers: A Comprehensive Review

Depletion of non-renewable resources and health hazards of petroleum-based polymers and plastics has enforced the development of eco-friendly materials. The use of conventional plastics has to be minimized and can be replaced with environmentally friendly and sustainable bio-based polymers or biopolymers due to extensive environmental impact. A major share of petroleum-based polymers is used for polymeric composites with research focus on green composites and biocomposites containing renewable/bioderived matrix polymer and fillers from naturally occurring fibers. Biocomposites hold great promise to replace petroleum-based polymer composites owing to their lower cost, non-toxicity, abundance of raw material, renewability, and high specific strength. All these merits of biocomposites have led to an increment in the development of new biocomposites with enhanced properties, wide applicability and ever demanding criteria. The recently published review studies detailed the raw materials used, fabrication techniques, characterization, and applications including biodegradation and rheological studies performed in recent years. This review covers all the important properties of biocomposites along with detailed description of synthesis, properties, characterizations and applicability of these green composites in several areas. The review also focuses on their raw materials, types, recent biocomposites, processing techniques, characterizations, applications, and current challenges with future aspects.

Review

12 April 2023

Recent Progress in Modification and Preparations of the Promising Biodegradable Plastics: Polylactide and Poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate)

The acquisition of high-performance biodegradable plastics is of great significance in addressing the problem of environmental pollution of plastics. Polylactide (PLA) and poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) are the most promising biodegradable polymers and have excellent functional properties. However, low elongation at break and impact strength of PLA and low tensile modulus and flexural strength of PBAT hinder their application. A large number of studies focus on improving the performance of PLA and PBAT and broadening their applications. In terms of polymer modification, this paper summarized recent progresses in both chemical and physical modification methods for PLA and PBAT, respectively. The properties of PLA can be improved by co-polymerization, grafting, cross-linking and blending. The properties of PBAT can be improved mainly through blending with other degradable polymers, natural macromolecules and inorganic materials. This review can provide the reference and ideas for the modification of biomass-based biodegradable plastics like PLA and fossil-based biodegradable plastics like PBAT.

MeiMeng
Shuanjin Wang
Min Xiao
Yuezhong Meng

Review

15 March 2023

Ultra-thin Solid Electrolyte in Lithium-ion Batteries

Safety concern of lithium-ion battery, attributed to using volatile and flammable liquid electrolytes, could be addressed by using solid electrolytes. Solid electrolytes including inorganic solid electrolytes, polymer solid electrolytes and organic/inorganic composite electrolytes have the common drawbacks in low ion-conductivity. Much efforts have been devoted to increase the specific ion conductivity, especially for inorganic solid electrolyte whose intrinsic conductivity are close to liquid electrolyte. However, most solid-state electrolyte membranes in lithium-ion batteries are thick, resulting in long ion-conduction pathway, low energy density and high cost. In this review, the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of solid electrolytes were analyzed, and the promising strategies of ultra-thin solid electrolyte preparation are summarized and prospected. Applying organic-inorganic composite, continuous phase enhancement and in situ integration have been devoted to reduce thickness of electrolyte membrane and improve battery performance. On the basis of the technical requirement of lithium-ion batteries, this review aims to provide a guidance in terms of rational design and synthesis of ultra-thin solid electrolytes for further research that addresses the safety issues and improves cycling performance of batteries.

LeiZhong
ZhifengLi
ShuanjinWang
ShengHuang

Article

30 January 2023

Metal-Free Lewis Pair Catalysts for a One-Pot Terpolymerization of Propylene Oxide, ʟ-Lactide and CO2

Multiblock and di-/tri-block copolymers are successfully synthesized for the first time via the metal-free terpolymerization of propylene oxide (PO), ʟ-lactide (LA) and CO2 in one-pot/one-step and one-pot/two-step protocols respectively. Firstly, triethyl borane (TEB) and bis(triphenylphosphine)iminium chloride (PPNCl) Lewis pair is employed in the ring-opening polymerization of LA, wherein the catalytic efficiency is significantly correlated to the TEB/PPNCl feed ratio. Next, a series of TEB/base pairs are selected to synthesize the PO/LA/CO2 terpolymer (PPCLA) in one-pot/one-step strategy. In PPCLA synthesis, LA exhibits the fastest reaction rate but the severe transesterification is almost unavoidable, resulting in low molecular weight products. In order to prepare high-molecular-weight terpolymers, a one-pot/two-step methodology has to be applied. By this method, the copolymerization of PO/CO2 proceeds first to form poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC) macroinitiators, which triggers the polymerization of LA to polylactide (PLA), leading to PLA-PPC or PLA-PPC-PLA block copolymers. The synthesized PLA-PPC-PLA block copolymers display an improved thermal stability compared with PPC.

ShuxianYe
JiaxinLiang
YansongRen
ShuanjinWang
DongmeiHan
ShengHuang
ZhihengHuang
MinXiao
YuezhongMeng

Article

21 March 2023

Waterborne Polyurethane Dispersion Synthesized from CO2 Based Poly (Ethylene Carbonate) Diol with High Performance

CO2-based aliphatic polycarbonates (APCs) are not widely commercialized due to the poor performance and high cost, compared to the traditional synthetic materials. In this paper, poly(ethylene carbonate) diol (PECD) was synthesized from CO2 and ethylene oxide (EO), and the comprehensive properties were characterized. Furthermore, the preparation and properties of waterborne polyurethane dispersion (WPU) derived from PECD were studied. The result showed that PECD had high reactivity, narrow molecular weight distribution index and excellent thermal stability. The obtained WPU exhibited superior tensile performance, adhesion properties and surface hardness. Due to the low cost of EO and CO2, PECD is expected to be widely used in the preparation of polyurethanes.

ZhenhongHuang
ZonglinHe
ChaozhiWang
ZhuDing
JiaoyanAi
LinaSong
BaohuaLiu

Review

15 August 2023

Green Composites Using Naturally Occurring Fibers: A Comprehensive Review

Depletion of non-renewable resources and health hazards of petroleum-based polymers and plastics has enforced the development of eco-friendly materials. The use of conventional plastics has to be minimized and can be replaced with environmentally friendly and sustainable bio-based polymers or biopolymers due to extensive environmental impact. A major share of petroleum-based polymers is used for polymeric composites with research focus on green composites and biocomposites containing renewable/bioderived matrix polymer and fillers from naturally occurring fibers. Biocomposites hold great promise to replace petroleum-based polymer composites owing to their lower cost, non-toxicity, abundance of raw material, renewability, and high specific strength. All these merits of biocomposites have led to an increment in the development of new biocomposites with enhanced properties, wide applicability and ever demanding criteria. The recently published review studies detailed the raw materials used, fabrication techniques, characterization, and applications including biodegradation and rheological studies performed in recent years. This review covers all the important properties of biocomposites along with detailed description of synthesis, properties, characterizations and applicability of these green composites in several areas. The review also focuses on their raw materials, types, recent biocomposites, processing techniques, characterizations, applications, and current challenges with future aspects.

Hans Raj
Swikriti Tripathi
Sudeepta Bauri
Avishek Choudhary
Subham Mandal
Pralay Maiti

Editorial

31 October 2022

Review

13 March 2023

Review on Multi-Functional Separator for Li-S Batteries

Because lithium-ion batteries are not able to meet increasing demand for capacity density and power density, lithium metal batteries are given great expectations as the next generation of rechargeable batteries. As one of lithium metal batteries, lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries have attracted extensive attention because of their ultrahigh capacity density (1675 mAh g−1) and low cost of sulfur. In order to overcome problems of active material attenuation, dendritic growth and volume expansion caused by the shuttle effect in Li-S batteries, researchers have adopted several methods such as adding electrolyte additives, electrode modification and separator modification. Among them, separator modification shows significant advantages in inhibiting the shuttle effect of lithium polysulfides. This paper reviews research progress of inhibiting the shuttle effect of Li-S batteries by separator modification in recent years, including direct design of new type separator and physical/chemical modification of separator surface. Through extensive reading and summarizing research results of separator modification of Li-S batteries, we give the possible development direction of Li-S batteries at the end of the paper.

XinZhang
BingyiMa
ShengHuang
DongmeiHan

Article

01 June 2023

Transparent, Hydrolysable and Flame Retarded Bio-based Epoxy Resins via Catalyst-free Polymerization of Triglycidyl Isocyanurate and Aliphatic Diacids

In this study, transparent and hydrolysable intrinsic flame retarded epoxy resins were synthesized successfully by melting polymerization without any catalyst, simply from bio-based triglycidyl isocyanurate and aliphatic diacids. Due to the possibility of transesterification along with the ring-opening reaction, the most suitable feed ratio of [COOH]/[epoxy] is found to be 60%. By changing the carbon number of diacid from 8 to 12, ER08-60, ER10-60 and ER12-60 were synthesized. The flame retardancy of ER08-60 is found to be excellent, with a UL-94 rating at V-0 and a LOI value at 27.6%. It is revealed from this study that upon heating isocyanurate ring decomposes first and CO2 released prevents the contact of materials with oxygen, thus preventing further combustion. The tensile strength and bending strength of ER08-60 can reach 86.6 MPa and 75.4 MPa, respectively. Additionally, all epoxy resins are able to hydrolyze quickly in both acid and alkaline solutions. It is worth to mention that these epoxy resins are transparent, with a transmittance of around 85%.

Tianlong Ma
Donglin Tang

Article

25 September 2023

Anion Exchange Membrane Reinforced with Polyethylene Substrate for Alkaline Fuel Cell Applications

To enhance mechanical robustness of our in-house anion exchange membrane (QPAF-4), the reinforcement technique was applied using ozone-treated, porous polyethylene (PE) thin film (Toray SETELA) as a substrate. Homogenous and flexible reinforced membranes (QPAF-4-PE, 15–20 µm thick) were obtained by bar-coating method. The cross-sectional SEM image and EDS analysis revealed triple-layered (sandwich-like) structure without detectable pinholes. The QPAF-4-PE with ion exchange capacity (IEC) of 1.48 meq·g−1 exhibited lower water uptake (15 wt% at 90% relative humidity) and slightly lower hydroxide ion conductivity (71 mS·cm−1 at 80 ℃) than those of the pristine QPAF-4 (IEC = 1.84 meq·g−1, 25 wt% water uptake and 82 mS·cm−1 of the conductivity). The reinforced QPAF-4-PE exhibited slightly higher viscoelasticity (particularly, in MD direction) due to the suppressed water absorbability. Furthermore, the elongation at break increased by 9.8% in TD direction and 6.3% in MD direction. An H2/O2 fuel cell using QPAF-4-PE as membrane was investigated at different back-pressure, in which the cell with 100 kPa back-pressure onto the cathode side only achieved the maximum performance (176 mW·cm−2 at current density of 364 mA·cm−2) and the longest durability for (>200 h) at a constant current density of 100 mA·cm−2 maintaining 0.43 V of the cell voltage (67% remaining). The durability was eight times longer than that with ambient pressure and two times longer than that with back-pressure on both sides.

AhmedMohamed AhmedMahmoud
KeijiroNagahara
KenjiMiyatake

Article

08 May 2023

A High-efficiency Cathode Using Co3O4 and Carbon Paper by Electrodeposition for Rechargeable Lithium-oxygen Batteries

The conductivity, microstructure, low cost, eco-friendliness, simple and controllable preparation are key points of the preparation and application of cathode materials for lithium-oxygen batteries. Considering the above-mentioned important factors comprehensively, the Co3O4@CP electrode with a three-dimensional structure was prepared by directly growing Co3O4 on the surface of carbon paper (CP) using a simple and controllable electrodeposition method. The obtained Co3O4 depositing layer has a nanosheet microstructure and can provide abundant catalytic active sites for the oxygen evolution and reduction reactions. The network architecture of electronic transmission is constructed by CP in the cathode, promoting the efficiency of the electrode reaction. It’s worth noting that the binder-free and conductive additive-free cathode is beneficial to reduce side reactions. The lithium-oxygen battery assembled with the obtained Co3O4@CP electrode showed satisfactory electrochemical performance. The cell assembled with the obtained Co3O4@CP electrode provided a discharge specific capacity of 10954.7 mA·h·g−1 at a current density of 200 mA·g−1, and the voltage profiles of the cell were good under 100 mA·g−1 at a limited capacity of 500 mA·h g−1 based on the mass of Co3O4. Therefore, the Co3O4@CP composite material is a promising candidate with good application prospects as a cathode material for lithium-oxygen batteries.

JingChen
TiedongLiu
BinZhang
YuMin
HongqiangWang
Qing-yuLi

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Topic Collection

Polymer Materials Synthesis, Design and Applications

Green Strategies for Plastic Recycling and Management

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