The Universities of Surrey and Bristol, along with Superdielectrics, are to develop an alternative to traditional Lithium-ion batteries after achieving "remarkable progress" in supercapacity technologies.
A year ago, the partners announced scientific results for novel polymer materials that have dielectric properties 1,000 to 10,000 times greater than existing electrolytes (electrical conductors).
As reported by Surrey university, these scientific findings have now been converted into ‘device’ scale technical demonstrations.
Supercapacitors store energy using electrodes and electrolytes and both charge and deliver energy quickly – conventional batteries perform the same task in a much slower, more sustained way.
Supercapacitors have the ability to charge and discharge rapidly over very large numbers of cycles.
Surry university reported, that existing supercapacitors have poor energy density per kilogramme (currently around one-twentieth of existing battery technology), they have been unable to compete with conventional battery energy storage.
Even with this restriction, supercapacitor buses are already being used in China, but the current technology means that they need to stop to be recharged frequently (i.e. at almost every bus-stop).
The team of scientists have been able to test the new materials in two ways:
- By using small single layer cells charged to 1.5 volts for two to five minutes and then run demonstration devices, including a small fan.
- By using a three-cell series stack that is able to be rapidly charged to five volts and operate an LED.
The University of Bristol is going further by producing a complex series-parallel cell structure in which both the total capacitance and operating voltage can be separately controlled.
Based on these results, Superdielectrics Ltd, the company behind this technology, is now looking to build a research and low volume production centre.
If successful in production, the material could not only be used as a battery for future mobile devices, but could also be used in refuelling stations for electric cars.
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