Capacitor Sciences and its thin film capacitor technology could beat Tesla lithium-ion batteries on performance and cost around $100 per kWh. Photo credit: Capacitor Sciences
By Jason Deign
California start-up Capacitor Sciences claims to be developing an energy storage medium that could beat lithium-ion batteries on performance while costing around USD$100 per kWh.
The Menlo Park firm is hoping to use nano-structured crystalline thin films as the dielectric material for capacitors with up to 10 times the energy density and 100 times the power density of lithium ion batteries, according to a press release.
Capacitor Sciences says the use of thin film should overcome problems dogging other capacitor manufacturers, such as ill-fated EEStor, which used inorganic dielectric materials too brittle to withstand repeated charging cycles.
“No-one is really working on this class of materials,” said Wolfgang Mack, vice president of business development. “We’re using organic materials. They are waxy in nature. There’s no damage done during charge and discharge.”
Capacitor Sciences’s founder and chief technology officer, Dr Pavel Lazarev, was previously involved with Crysoptix, a liquid crystal display optical films maker, and nanomaterials business Optiva, which went out of business in 2005.
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A supercapacitor made of hemp is as good as a graphene supercapacitor for energy storage, says Dr David Mitlin of the University of Alberta, Canada. Photo credit: Vote Hemp
The energy storage news headlines from our Twitter feed this week.
- The Strati, the first 3D-printed electric car, was printed in 44 hours at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago on 13 September.
- The NY-BEST conference and exhibition for the New York energy storage industry has been reviewed by Democrat & Chronicle.
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As Vanderbilt University create a structural supercapacitor energy storage device, we analyse developments in the supercapacitor industry. Photo credit: Vanderbilt University
One of the most intriguing energy storage stories of last week was news of a solid-state supercapacitor so tough it could potentially be built into laptop casings, electric vehicle panels and even walls to become the basis of a structural energy storage device.The discovery, uncovered by a team from Vanderbilt University’s Nanomaterials and Energy Devices Laboratory, adds to near-daily reports of potential game-changing improvements to the technology.
So it seemed like a good time to take stock of supercapacitors (and ultracapacitors, but more of that later): what they are, what they can and can’t do in energy storage, how they can be improved, and what the future might hold for the sector.
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A composite of clay and electrolyte serves as both electrolyte and separator in a supercapacitor. Photo credit: Ajayan Group/Rice University
Supercapacitors have been in the news a lot recently, with researchers and investors alike hoping they can combine the rapid charging and high energy densities of conventional capacitor devices with the slow release of energy associated with batteries.
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Dan Li’s team is researching graphene supercapacitors. Photo credit: Monash University
Monash University researchers have brought next generation energy storage closer with an engineering first: a graphene-based device that is compact yet lasts as long as a conventional battery.
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Under a new agreement, EnerSys and Ioxus will develop and market new products that leverage the strengths and benefits of combining the former’s battery technologies with the latter’s ultracapacitor expertise.
The deal will focus on creating products to address regenerative braking and energy recovery in the material handling market, and other major markets, including generators, automotive and heavy trucks, critical and cold starts, and energy storage/power conditioning.
The companies hope that by combining their technologies they will be able to enter vertical markets in need of high-performance, extended energy storage life under harsh environmental conditions, including some automotive markets.
Researchers at Rice University in the US have made a new hybrid micro-supercapacitor from graphene and carbon nanotube ‘carpets’, reports nantechweb.org. These structures have electrochemical properties that could be just the thing for running portable electronics and renewable power applications, longer. With an energy density of 2.42 mWh/cm3 in an ionic liquid, the device carries two times the energy of conventional aluminum electrolytic capacitors of the same volume.
Under the banner of The EEStor Ultracapacitor Saga Continues Greentech Media wonders what has happened to EEStor’s legendary super capacitor, which, Greentech says, “would store more energy and charge and discharge faster than previous materials by a factor of ten”.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech Pulse and others strike a more neutral tone by noting that the company says it has made “major progress” in bringing its potentially game-changing technology to market.