A team of scientists from the Center for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET) and Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) in India has reportedly managed to extract graphene from wild flowers (bougainvillea vines).

According to the scientists at C-MET and SPPU, these flowers, when dried and chemically treated, can be used to extract graphene. The team has fabricated supercapacitors using the produced graphene, and is now undertaking final trials of their performance. The experiment involved programmed heating of the dried petals, at temperatures ranging from 250 degrees Celsius to 1,000 degrees Celcius.

On particularly choosing flower waste for the study, one of the senior scientists and the director of C-MET said: “Since these flowers are available in abundance during all seasons and at all places, regardless of the geography, we decided to experiment with them.” Another reason for choosing the flower was that it has a wide variety of minerals, which, they believe, can contribute towards improving the performance of the electronic circuit, and thereby ensuring a longer life for gadgets. But the highlight of the study remains the cost-effectiveness of these supercapacitors, given that the carbon is being extracted from bio-waste. “As these flowers have very fine petals and are loaded with metals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium, the extraction procedure becomes easier,” he explained.

The amount of graphene that can be extracted from these flowers was said to be around 300 grams per kilogram of dried flowers. “Generally, a few milligrams of graphene is required for every supercapacitor and since this is extracted from waste, it must be noted that these supercapacitors can be produced at very affordable rates. The perforated graphene will have good potential in Lithium and Sodium ion batteries, development of which is progressive”, he said.