The Future of Flash Graphene for the Sustainable Management of Solid Waste

Najmul Haque Barbhuiya, Ashish Kumar, Ayush Singh, Munish K. Chandel, Christopher J. Arnusch, James M. Tour, Swatantra P. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Graphene research has steadily increased, and its commercialization in many applications is becoming a reality because of its superior physicochemical properties and advances in synthesis techniques. However, bulk-scale production of graphene still requires large amounts of solvents, electrochemical treatment, or sonication. Recently, a method was discovered to convert bulk quantities of carbonaceous materials to graphene using flash Joule heating (FJH) and, so named, flash graphene (FG). This method can be used to turn various solid wastes containing the prerequisite element carbon into FG. Globally, more than 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) are generated every year and, in many municipalities, are becoming unmanageable. The most commonly used waste management methods include recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion, incineration, gasification, pyrolysis, and landfill disposal. However, around 70% of global waste ends up in landfills or open dumps, while the rest is recycled, composted, or incinerated. Even the various waste valorization techniques, such as pyrolysis and gasification, produce some waste residues that have their ultimate destination in landfills. Thus, technologies that can minimize waste volume or convert waste into valuable products are required. The thermal treatment process of FJH for FG production provides both waste volume reduction and valorization in the form of FG. In this Perspective, we provide an overview of FJH and its possible applications in various types of waste conversion/valorization. We describe the typical current MSW management system as well as the potential for creating FG at various stages and propose a schematic plan for the incorporation of FG in MSW management. We also analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of MSW as an FG precursor in terms of technical, economic, environmental, and social sustainability. This valuable waste valorization and management strategy can help achieve near-zero waste and an economy-boosting MSW management system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15461-15470
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number10
StatePublished - 26 Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Engineering (all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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