High-energy supercapacitor could revolutionise battery power storage
Have you ever been ready to leave the house only to discover your phone is on 1% battery? Well, this frustration could soon be a thing of the past.
Pioneering research from the geniuses at the University of Surrey and Augmented Optics Ltd (or SuperCapacitor Materials) in a collaboration with the University of Bristol has developed a supercapacitor with unprecedented battery power – a discovery that could transform the way we use electricity, and one which could recharge your phone in moments.
“It’s proven to be between 1,000-10,000 times more powerful than the existing battery alternative”
The results of this could be huge, and not just for our convenience, but environmentally too. The supercapacitor substantially increases the usefulness of electricity as a power source for things like transport, therefore decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels.
The University of Bristol says it is “proven to be between 1,000-10,000 times more powerful than the existing battery alternative”.
A new generation of supercapacitors
The technology in the new supercapacitors has been taken from the basic ideas behind those used in soft contact lenses – a project that Dr Donald Highgate, the director of Augmented Optics, undertook during his postgraduate studies at the University of Surrey. SuperCapacitor Materials has now adapted this concept to create its patent pending crosslinked gel electrolytes.
The idea is to combine these new electrolytes with conventional electrolytes to create a super-supercapacitor that encompasses quick charge and discharge rates, as well as parallel the storage capacities of everyday batteries.
“We believe that this is an extremely exciting and potentially game-changing development”
Although supercapacitors have always had these exceptionally high charge and discharge rates, its low energy densities meant they could not contain the electricity for a prolonged period of time, meaning conventional battery power remained unchallenged. However, this breakthrough changes this.
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“We believe that this is an extremely exciting and potentially game-changing development,” says Ian Hamerton, who tested the technology at Bristol University’s Department of Aerospace Engineering.
Those working on the project speculate that you will be able to charge your phone, laptop or tablet, you name it, within a matter of seconds. They also hope that electric cars will be able to travel long distances without the need to recharge, and when the time does come to charge up, your car will be raring to go again before you know it.
The supercapacitor technology is currently being utilised on buses in China, but this development will vastly improve the efficiency and therefore usefulness of such a transport system – there’s even talk that the technology could make the dream of electric air transportation a reality. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…