We covered this story late last year. In the past many companies made promises regards Super Caps but never delivered. More often than not the material in the lab under specific conditions show a theoretical potential, but the reality of capacitor engineering prevents the benefits flowing through to the end product. I was fortunate to meet up with Uli over Christmas who is heavily involved in battery and Capacitor research and development and he reflected the same sentiment.
If this does pan out then this is the energy storage breakthrough of the century and will see a huge shift in transport and energy towards electric cars and renewables.
SuperCapacitor Materials Ltd has researched and developed new, crosslinked gel electrolytes exhibiting measured capacitance values over 100 times those of conventional electrolytes
These electrolytes are compatible with all normal production electrodes. They make possible supercapacitors with greatly enhanced specific energy storage capacities.We believe the combination of existing electrodes and our new electrolytes have the potential to create supercapacitors that have energy storage capacities which can approach or exceed existing battery systems.
The energy density of a supercapacitor depends on the properties and effective surface area of the electrodes and the properties of the electrolyte.
- High charge and discharge rates
Wide range of operating temperatures
Long life cycles
- Low energy densities of approximately 3 – 7 WHr / Kg
(editors note) So if I was to make the correct assumption that is being claimed we would see a 100 fold increase to 300- 700Whr / Kg
SuperCapacitor Materials Ltd was established in 2016 to commercialise the development of crosslinked, gel-matrix polymers in supercapacitors from research carried out by Augmented Optics Ltd.
SuperCapacitor Materials Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Augmented Optics Ltd, a company established to undertake the original Research Programme. The objective of the Research Programme was to develop new, electrically active materials for a number of electric and bio-electric applications. This work was undertaken at the University of Surrey, Guildford, with the assistance of the University of Bristol.
- The new technology is believed to have the potential for electric cars to travel to similar distances as petrol cars without the need to stop for lengthy re-charging breaks of between 6-8 hours, and instead re-charge fully in the time it takes to fill a regular car with petrol.
- The scientific findings made by Augmented Optics Ltd and its wholly owned subsidiary Supercapacitor Materials Ltd with the University of Surrey and University of Bristol have produced a safer, faster charging, more efficient and greener alternative to battery power and supercapacitor abilities as we currently know them.
Ground-breaking research from the University of Surrey and Augmented Optics Ltd., in collaboration with the University of Bristol, has developed potentially transformational technology which could revolutionise the capabilities of appliances that have previously relied on battery power to work.
This development by Augmented Optics Ltd., could translate into very high energy density super-capacitors making it possible to recharge your mobile phone, laptop or other mobile devices in just a few seconds.
The technology could have a seismic impact across a number of industries, including transport, aerospace, energy generation, and household applications such as mobile phones, flat screen electronic devices, and biosensors. It could also revolutionise electric cars, allowing the possibility for them to recharge as quickly as it takes for a regular non-electric car to refuel with petrol – a process that currently takes approximately 6-8 hours to recharge. Imagine, instead of an electric car being limited to a drive from London to Brighton, the new technology could allow the electric car to travel from London to Edinburgh without the need to recharge, but when it did recharge for this operation to take just a few minutes to perform.
Supercapacitor buses are already being used in China, but they have a very limited range whereas this technology could allow them to travel a lot further between recharges. Instead of recharging every 2-3 stops this technology could mean they only need to recharge every 20-30 stops and that will only take a few seconds.
Elon Musk, of Tesla and SpaceX, has previously stated his belief that supercapacitors are likely to be the technology for future electric air transportation. We believe that the present scientific advance could make that vision a reality.
The technology was adapted from the principles used to make soft contact lenses, which Dr Donald Highgate (of Augmented Optics, and an alumnus of the University of Surrey) developed following his postgraduate studies at Surrey 40 years ago. Supercapacitors, an alternative power source to batteries, store energy using electrodes and electrolytes and both charge and deliver energy quickly, unlike conventional batteries which do so in a much slower, more sustained way. Supercapacitors have the ability to charge and discharge rapidly over very large numbers of cycles. However, because of their poor energy density per kilogramme (approximately just one twentieth of existing battery technology), they have, until now, been unable to compete with conventional battery energy storage in many applications.
Dr Brendan Howlin of the University of Surrey, explained: “There is a global search for new energy storage technology and this new ultra capacity supercapacitor has the potential to open the door to unimaginably exciting developments.”
The ground-breaking research programme was conducted by researchers at the University of Surrey’s Department of Chemistry where the project was initiated by Dr Donald Highgate of Augmented Optics Ltd. The research team was co-led by the Principal Investigators Dr Ian Hamerton and Dr Brendan Howlin. Dr Hamerton continues to collaborate on the project in his new post at the University of Bristol, where the electrochemical testing to trial the research findings was carried out by fellow University of Bristol academic – David Fermin, Professor of Electrochemistry in the School of Chemistry.
Dr Ian Hamerton, Reader in Polymers and Composite Materials from the Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Bristol said: “While this research has potentially opened the route to very high density supercapacitors, these *polymers have many other possible uses in which tough, flexible conducting materials are desirable, including bioelectronics, sensors, wearable electronics, and advanced optics. We believe that this is an extremely exciting and potentially game changing development.”
*the materials are based on large organic molecules composed of many repeated sub-units and bonded together to form a 3-dimensional network.
Jim Heathcote, Chief Executive of both Augmented Optics Ltd and Supercapacitor Materials Ltd, said: “It is a privilege to work with the teams from the University of Surrey and the University of Bristol. The test results from the new polymers suggest that extremely high energy density supercapacitors could be constructed in the very new future. We are now actively seeking commercial partners in order to supply our polymers and offer assistance to build these ultra high energy density storage devices.”
Reference (and where I copied the material from)
NOTES FOR EDITOR: For interview requests with the University of Surrey or Augmented Optics Ltd/Supercapacitor Materials Ltd please contact Ashley Lovell on 01483 686141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For interview requests with the University of Bristol please contact Joanne Fryer on 0117 331 7276, mobile 07747 768804 or email email@example.com