What if you can charge your electric car in ten minutes or your smartphone in few seconds? Awesome, isn’t it?
Researchers have claimed that they have discovered a new material that can boost the charging capacity of a carbon-based supercapacitor which is also called an ultracapacitor. This energy storage device can be charged very quickly and offload its power as quickly as possible.
Dr. Donald Highgate, who is the director of research at Superdielectrics Ltd, said a material which he had originally developed for soft contact lenses was surprisingly good at holding an electrostatic magnetic field.
Unlike conventional batteries, supercapacitors don't produce electricity through chemical reactions; they create these electrostatic fields.
Dr. Donald Highgate hopes that supercapacitors could eventually compete with, or even surpass, lithium-ion batteries as long as they manage to replicate prototype performance on large scale. Dr. Highgate is working with Bristol and Surrey universities to develop them using the new polymer.
Until now, supercapacitors are effectively used at providing quick bursts of power to start a car engine or to give trains a boost when accelerating. They're also well-suited to harvesting energy from vehicles when they brake, making them an important component in electric vehicles. And national electricity grids use them to provide quick power top-ups when balancing supply and demand.
But up to this day, superconductors have not been at their best when it comes to holding a lot of power or holding electric power for a long duration.
This poor energy density, as it's called, the amount of power they can hold per kilogram, has put them at a significant disadvantage to Li-ion batteries.