Sweet Side Streams: Sugar Beet Pulp as Source for High-Performance Supercapacitor Electrodes

Julian Selinger, Kristoffer Meinander, Benjamin P. Wilson, Qamar Abbas, Michael Hummel, Stefan Spirk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Valorization of the lignocellulosic side and waste streams is key to making industrial processes more efficient from both an economic and ecological perspective. Currently, the production of sugars from beets results in pulps in large quantities. However, there is a lack of promising opportunities for upcycling these materials despite their promising properties. Here, we investigate beet pulps from two different stages of the sugar manufacturing process as raw materials for supercapacitor electrodes. We demonstrate that these materials can be efficiently converted to activated, highly porous carbons. The carbons exhibit pore dimensions approaching the size of the desolvated K+ and SO42- ions with surface areas up to 2600 m2 g-1. These carbons were subsequently manufactured into electrodes, assembled in supercapacitors, and tested with environmentally friendly aqueous electrolytes (6 M KOH and 1 M H2SO4). Further analysis demonstrated the presence of capacitance-enhancing functionalities, and up to 193 and 177 F g-1 in H2SO4 and KOH, respectively, were achieved, which outperformed supercapacitors prepared from commercial YP80 F. Overall, our study suggests that side streams from sugar manufacturing offer a hidden potential for use in high-performance energy storage devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4733–4743
JournalACS Omega
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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