Advances in 3D-printed supercapacitor technology could lead to wider use

Advances in 3D-printed supercapacitor technology could lead to wider use use of fast-charging energy storage devices and novel designs for electronic gadgets.

Scientists at UC Santa Cruz and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have reported unprecedented performance results for a supercapacitor electrode. The researchers fabricated electrodes using a printable graphene aerogel to build a porous three-dimensional scaffold loaded with pseudocapacitive material.In laboratory tests, the novel electrodes achieved the highest areal capacitance (electric charge stored per unit of electrode surface area) ever reported for a supercapacitor, said Yat Li, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz. Li and his collaborators reported their findings in a paper published October 18 in Joule.

As energy storage devices, supercapacitors have the advantages of charging very rapidly (in seconds to minutes) and retaining their storage capacity through tens of thousands of charge cycles. They are used for regenerative braking systems in electric vehicles and other applications. Compared to batteries, they hold less energy in the same amount of space, and they don’t hold a charge for as long. But advances in supercapacitor technology could make them competitive with batteries in a much wider range of applications.

In earlier work, the UCSC and LLNL researchers demonstrated ultrafast supercapacitor electrodes fabricated using a 3D-printed graphene aerogel. In the new study, they used an improved graphene aerogel to build a porous scaffold which was then loaded with manganese oxide, a commonly used pseudocapacitive material. read more