Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed a new graphene-based nanoscale architecture that improves the performance of supercapacitors, a development that could mean faster acceleration in electric vehicles and longer battery life in portable electronics.
A supercapacitor is an energy storage device like a battery. The new design is based on ruthenium oxide anchored on a graphene foam electrode. It could deliver two times more energy and power compared to supercapacitors commercially available today.
The foam electrode was successfully cycled over 8,000 times with no fading in performance. The findings were outlined in the journal Nature Scientific Reports (open access).
Supercapacitors (also known as ultracapacitors) have ultra-high charge and discharge rate, excellent stability, long cycle life, and very high power density.
To achieve a higher power density, it is critical to have a large electrochemically accessible surface area, high electrical conductivity, short ion diffusion pathways, and excellent interfacial integrity, which are achieved by the new architecture.
These characteristics are desirable for many applications including electric vehicles and portable electronics. However, supercapacitors may only serve as standalone power sources in systems that require power delivery for less than 10 seconds because of their relatively low specific energy. Higher capacitance, or the ability to store an electrical charge, is critical to achieve higher energy density. This is also enabled by the new architecture.