17 Nov 2014


Fast charging and discharging graphene-based supercapacitor are seen as ideal complement to lithium batteries, which need to accept and release energy more slowly. While electric car companies such as Tesla and Renovo, which recently came out of stealth mode to unveil the 1,000 lb-ft Renovo Coupe, are working on improving the capacity of their lithium-ion batteries, a group of researchers in Australia have developed a new technology that could eventually do away with batteries.

Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia in cooperation with Rice University in Houston have come up with supercapacitors that can work with lithium-ion batteries to significantly improve a vehicle's electric power. The lightweight supercapacitors are made from a "sandwich" of electrolyte placed between two strong sheets of graphene, giving them a high power density that allows them to release energy in a much shorter period of time than conventional lithium-ion batteries.
"Vehicles need an extra energy spurt for acceleration, and this is where supercapacitors come in," says Ph.D. researcher Marco Notarianni of the QUT's Science and Engineering Faculty - Institute for Future Environments. "They hold a limited amount of charge, but they are able to deliver it very quickly, making them the perfect complement to mass-storage batteries."

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