Scientists Experiment with Textile Wastewater Dye as Energy Source

Scientists at the University of Buffalo share new findings on using textile wastewater byproducts as an energy source. 

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BUFFALO, N.Y-Scientists at the University at Buffalo share new findings on using textile wastewater byproducts as an energy source. The researchers say they’ve used methylene blue, an ingredient commonly found in textile wastewater, as a compound for rechargeable batteries.

According to a report on the university’s website, the study finds that the dissolved dye is capable of storing and releasing energy on cue. That process, the report explains, makes the dye a potential candidate for rechargeable batteries in places like wind farms and solar homes that need a backup power source when there isn’t optimal sunlight or enough wind generation.

While the study is still in its early phases, the scientists report that the first battery used with the dye “operated with near-perfect efficiency when it was charged and drained 50 times.” By continuing the study, researchers hope to find a way to use the volatile product instead of simply treating textile wastewater, which they point out often creates other waste products. The next step, they explain, is obtaining actual wastewater from a textile mill to refine the study.

“We believe that this work could set the stage for an alternative route for wastewater management, paving a path to a green-energy storage technology,” Anjula Kosswattaarachchi, one of the university researchers states in the report.

The study marks a growing global effort to combat the large-scale issue of water waste and pollutants involved in textile production. In 2017, Chinese researchers opened a treatment facility that uses electron beams to break down wastewater chemicals. More recently, researchers at Calicut University in India unveiled an eco-friendly method for manufacturing textile yarns that drastically cuts down on water consumption.

 To read more about the University at Buffalo study, visit

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