Supercapacitor battery charges in seconds, lasts a week

By Richard Wallace

Breakthroughs in battery technology are becoming increasingly common these days, a manifestation of years of multi-billion dollar R&D investments focused on advanced materials science in hot pursuit of a compact, renewable energy sources by the world’s automobile and electronics makers.

The latest advance is a battery that charges in seconds and holds a charge for a week, a University of Central Florida development that could one day replace lithium-ion batteries.The new battery is highly flexible and measures a fraction of the size of a lithium-ion battery.

The breakthrough design, published in the document below, employs millions of highly conductive nanowires coated with tungsten trioxide (WO3) and tungsten disulfide (WS2).

Illustration representing the novel design of a hybrid supercapacitor, showing bundles of nanowires (blue) coated with 2D energy-storage materials (yellow) (credit: University of Central Florida)

University of Central Florida researchers have developed a radical new supercapacitor design that could one day replace lithium-ion batteries, allowing users to charge a mobile phone in a few seconds and with a charge that lasts a week, according to the researchers. The new battery would be flexible and a fraction of the size of a lithium-ion battery.

The proof-of-concept design is based on a hybrid supercapacitor composed of a core with millions of highly conductive nanowires coated with shells of two-dimensional materials. It combines fast charging and discharging (high power density) and high storage capacity (high energy density).

Another advantage would be “cyclic stability” (how many times a battery can be charged, drained and recharged before beginning to degrade). A lithium-ion battery can be recharged fewer than 1,500 times without significant failure, compared to recently developed supercapacitors based on two-dimensional materials, which can be recharged more than 30,000 times.

Electric vehicles could also benefit from longer-range operation and sudden bursts of power and speed. The flexible material could mean a significant advancement in wearable tech, according to the researchers, and would also avoid the risk of overheating and explosion with lithium-ion batteries.

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