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BRAGI: Bio-chars for energy harvesting and storage applications

Updated: Oct 13, 2023


Biochars produced from biomasses are an emerging type of renewable material that cannot only replace fossil-based coal but also perform as raw materials in high-value applications such as electronics. In the BRAGI project, we aim to develop sustainable and economically feasible methods to process and activate various biomasses into biochars to be used in future energy applications. The developed chars have different morphologies and heteroatoms depending on the used processing method and origin of the biomass. Hence, they can be suitable for a variety of energy application including photovoltaics and supercapacitors.


Main results

  • Hydrothermally carbonized and alkali-activated brewer's spent grain has a microporous structure leading to an extremely high surface area making it a promising candidate for electrochemical applications.

  • Dye solar cells with activated brewer's spent grain biocarbon performed well in extended accelerated aging test, and the biocarbon also reduced the degradation via loss of electrolyte charge carriers during the aging test.

  • Activated brewer's spent grain biocarbon provides a promising alternative for platinum-based catalysts.


Related publications

  • Tiihonen, A., Siipola, V., Lahtinen, K., Pajari, H., Widsten, P., Tamminen, T., Kallio, T., & Miettunen, K. (2021). Biocarbon from brewery residues as a counter electrode catalyst in dye solar cells. Electrochimica Acta, 368, [137583]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electacta.2020.137583

  • Al Haj, Y., Mousavihashemi, S., Robertson, D., Borghei, M., Pääkkönen, T., Rojas, O. J., Kontturi, E., Kallio, T., & Vapaavuori, J. (2022). Biowaste-derived electrode and electrolyte materials for flexible supercapacitors. Chemical Engineering Journal, 435(3), [135058]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2022.135058



Research Project Managers

Tanja Kallio, Aalto

Kati Miettunen, Aalto (currently at University of Turku)


Project status

Funded by FinnCERES 2018-2021.

A related project investigating optically superior substrates for solar cells and optoelectronics was funded in the Tandem Forest Values call in 2019.



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