Warren Buffett popularized the notion of investing in "cigarette butt" stocks. That is, extracting one last "puff" of value out of discarded stocks trading below liquidation value. Well, get ready to put a new spin on the term.

Based on breaking research out of South Korea?–?published just days ago in the journal Nanotechnology?– actual cigarette butts could end up becoming savvy investments. No joke.

Recycling these toxic, non-biodegradable cigarette filters could prove to be highly disruptive to multiple end markets. And there's one company in particular you'll want to put on your radar.

What Were They Smoking?

Don't ask me how the researchers came up with the idea. But they did. And when they put it to the testtest is test, they found that used cigarette filters, particularly Marlboro Light Golds, make great supercapacitorsUnconventional internal design yields a larger capacitanceThat property of a system of conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential difference exists between the conductors. Its value is expressed as the ratio of a quantity of electricity to a potential difference. A capacitance value is always positive. per unit volume than other types. Valuable for high-current and low frequencyThe number of complete cycles or vibrations per unit of time. Rate of alternation in an AC current. Expressed in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). electrical circuits, power supply filters, etc. Applications are similar to those of rechargeable batteries..

For those unaware, supercapacitorsUnconventional internal design yields a larger capacitanceThat property of a system of conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential difference exists between the conductors. Its value is expressed as the ratio of a quantity of electricity to a potential difference. A capacitance value is always positive. per unit volume than other types. Valuable for high-current and low frequencyThe number of complete cycles or vibrations per unit of time. Rate of alternation in an AC current. Expressed in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). electrical circuits, power supply filters, etc. Applications are similar to those of rechargeable batteries., which are also known as ultracapacitorsUnconventional internal design yields a larger capacitanceThat property of a system of conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential difference exists between the conductors. Its value is expressed as the ratio of a quantity of electricity to a potential difference. A capacitance value is always positive. per unit volume than other types. Valuable for high-current and low frequencyThe number of complete cycles or vibrations per unit of time. Rate of alternation in an AC current. Expressed in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). electrical circuits, power supply filters, etc. Applications are similar to those of rechargeable batteries., are an electrical storage alternative to batteries. They're often used in hybrid cars and buses, as well as wind turbines.

They chargeThe amount of electricity present upon the capacitor's plates. Also, the act of forcing of electrons onto the capacitor's plates. See CoulombA coulomb is the unit of electric charge. It is named after Charles-Augustin de Coulomb.1 coulomb is the amount of electric charge transported by a current of 1 ampere in 1 second. It can also be defined in terms of capacitance and voltage, where one coulomb is defined as one farad of capacitance times one volt of electric potential difference.. faster, deliver power quicker, and last longer. Plus, they're safer than traditional batteries because, instead of housing toxic chemical reactants, supercapacitorsUnconventional internal design yields a larger capacitanceThat property of a system of conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential difference exists between the conductors. Its value is expressed as the ratio of a quantity of electricity to a potential difference. A capacitance value is always positive. per unit volume than other types. Valuable for high-current and low frequencyThe number of complete cycles or vibrations per unit of time. Rate of alternation in an AC current. Expressed in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). electrical circuits, power supply filters, etc. Applications are similar to those of rechargeable batteries. rely on a sort of static electricity for storing power.

Or as Michael Sund, Vice President of Maxwell Technologies (MXWL), once put it, "UltracapacitorsUnconventional internal design yields a larger capacitanceThat property of a system of conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential difference exists between the conductors. Its value is expressed as the ratio of a quantity of electricity to a potential difference. A capacitance value is always positive. per unit volume than other types. Valuable for high-current and low frequencyThe number of complete cycles or vibrations per unit of time. Rate of alternation in an AC current. Expressed in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). electrical circuits, power supply filters, etc. Applications are similar to those of rechargeable batteries. are kind of like lightning in a bottle." Indeed!

SupercapacitorsUnconventional internal design yields a larger capacitanceThat property of a system of conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential difference exists between the conductors. Its value is expressed as the ratio of a quantity of electricity to a potential difference. A capacitance value is always positive. per unit volume than other types. Valuable for high-current and low frequencyThe number of complete cycles or vibrations per unit of time. Rate of alternation in an AC current. Expressed in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). electrical circuits, power supply filters, etc. Applications are similar to those of rechargeable batteries. aren't an unproven technology, mind you. They'veVolumetric Efficiency been around for decades. But usage has always been constrained by supercapacitorsUnconventional internal design yields a larger capacitanceThat property of a system of conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential difference exists between the conductors. Its value is expressed as the ratio of a quantity of electricity to a potential difference. A capacitance value is always positive. per unit volume than other types. Valuable for high-current and low frequencyThe number of complete cycles or vibrations per unit of time. Rate of alternation in an AC current. Expressed in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). electrical circuits, power supply filters, etc. Applications are similar to those of rechargeable batteries.' energy densityA figure of merit usually expressed in Joules per cubic inch for capacitorsA figure of merit usually expressed in Joules per cubic inch for capacitorsA figure of merit usually expressed in Joules per cubic inch for capacitors (i.e., the amount of energy stored in a given unit of mass).

You see, when it comes to energy densityA figure of merit usually expressed in Joules per cubic inch for capacitorsA figure of merit usually expressed in Joules per cubic inch for capacitorsA figure of merit usually expressed in Joules per cubic inch for capacitors, supercapacitorsUnconventional internal design yields a larger capacitanceThat property of a system of conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential difference exists between the conductors. Its value is expressed as the ratio of a quantity of electricity to a potential difference. A capacitance value is always positive. per unit volume than other types. Valuable for high-current and low frequencyThe number of complete cycles or vibrations per unit of time. Rate of alternation in an AC current. Expressed in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). electrical circuits, power supply filters, etc. Applications are similar to those of rechargeable batteries. can't compete with traditional batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries can store upward of 20 times the energy of supercapacitorsUnconventional internal design yields a larger capacitanceThat property of a system of conductors and dielectrics which permits the storage of electricity when potential difference exists between the conductors. Its value is expressed as the ratio of a quantity of electricity to a potential difference. A capacitance value is always positive. per unit volume than other types. Valuable for high-current and low frequencyThe number of complete cycles or vibrations per unit of time. Rate of alternation in an AC current. Expressed in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). electrical circuits, power supply filters, etc. Applications are similar to those of rechargeable batteries. for a given weight and size.

For years, scientists have been trying to level the playing field. And they'veVolumetric Efficiency put tremendous effort and hope into grapheneGraphene is an allotrope of carbon, whose structure is one-atom-thick planar sheets of sp2-bonded carbon atoms that are densely packed in a honeycomb crystal lattice. (carbon that's only one atom thick), which can be stackedMultiple capacitor elements stacked in multi-unit arrangement to provide bulk capacitance and lower ESR.Multiple capacitor elements stackedMultiple capacitor elements stacked in multi-unit arrangement to provide bulk capacitance and lower ESR. in multi-unit arrangement to provide bulk capacitance and lower ESR.. But for the most part, it's proven way too expensive to manufacture.

That's where this new research comes in…