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  1. Deriving battery grade materials from natural sources is a key element to establishing sustainable energy storage technologies. In this work, we present the use of avocado peels as a sustainable source for conversion into hard carbon-based anodes for sodium ion batteries. The avocado peels are simply washed and dried then proceeded to a high temperature conversion step. Materials characterization reveals conversion of the avocado peels in high purity, highly porous hard carbon powders. When prepared as anode materials they show to the capability to reversibly store and release sodium ions. The hard carbon-based electrodes exhibit excellent cycling performance, namely, a reversible capacity of 352.55 mAh g−1at 0.05 A g−1, rate capability up to 86 mAh g−1at 3500 mA g−1, capacity retention of >90%, and 99.9% coulombic efficiencies after 500 cycles. Cyclic voltammetry studies indicated that the storage process was diffusion-limited, with diffusion coefficient of 8.62 × 10−8cm2s−1. This study demonstrates avocado derived hard carbon as a sustainable source that can provide excellent electrochemical and battery performance as anodes in sodium ion batteries.

  2. Microfiber optic array structures are fabricated and employed as an optical structure overlaying a front-contact silicon solar cell. The arrays are synthesized through light-induced self-writing in a photo-crosslinking acrylate resin, which produces periodically spaced, high-aspect-ratio, and vertically aligned tapered microfibers deposited on a transparent substrate. The structure is then positioned over and sealed onto the solar cell surface. Their fiber optic properties enable collection of non-normal incident light, allowing the structure to mitigate shading loss through the redirection of incident light away from contacts and toward the solar cell. Angle-averaged external quantum efficiency increases nominally by 1.61%, resulting in increases in short-circuit current density up to 1.13 mA/cm2. This work demonstrates a new approach to enhance light collection and conversion using a scalable, straightforward, light-based additive manufacturing process.