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This Supercapacitor Is Paper-Thin, Stores Energy as Well as a Battery

Illustration for article titled This Supercapacitor Is Paper-Thin, Stores Energy as Well as a Battery

A team of researchers from UCLA Berkeley has developed a new supercapacitor which is paper-thin, super-fast to charge and can match batteries with its energy storage density.

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In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers explain how they've developed the supercapacitor. Using laser-scribed graphene in combination with manganese-dioxide, the team has produced a supercapacitor which is one-fifth the thickness of a sheet of paper. The production methods don't require complex dry labs or or extreme temperatures, either.

Supercapacitors are attractive because they charge in seconds as opposed to hours. But they currently lack the energy density to plausibly power most energy-hungry devices.

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The new device, though, can hold 42 Watt-hours of energy per liter—comparable to a lead acid battery. It also charges incredibly quickly and can survive 10,000 recharge cycles. In tests, it was able to be quickly charged from energy generated by a solar cell during the day, hold charge until the evening, then power LEDs overnight.

But along with its clear energy storage potential, the device is also incredibly thin. The team behind it—no strangers to the development of supercapacitors—suggest that it could be used in wearables or inside medical implants. With a combination of fast charging, respectable energy density and small size, it's hard to disagree. Now we just need to wait until it looks less like a grade-school science project and more like a commercial device. [PNAS via PhysOrg]

Image by UCLA California NanoSystems Institute

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DISCUSSION

im-thatoneguy3
im.thatoneguy

42 wh/liter is crap. Your average lithium ion batter has 4-10x that. I don’t really care about fast discharge when capacity is 1/10th. I would rather go 10x as long and charge 10x as long than plug in every hour for 10 minutes. One 10 hour charge overnight is better than 10x 1 hour charges throughout the day.