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Super capacitors, breakthroughs are basis of innovations in electric transport to military directed energy weapons

The rapid increase in global energy consumption and the environmental impact of traditional energy resources pose serious challenges to human health, energy security, and the environment; and reveal a growing need to develop new types of clean and sustainable energy conversion and storage systems, such as batteries and supercapacitors for electric vehicles with low exhaust emissions.

 

Supercapacitors, also called as ultracapacitors, are electrochemical energy storage devices that combine the high energy-storage-capability of conventional batteries with the high power-delivery-capability of conventional capacitors. They have many advantages, such as high power density, high energy density, long cycle life, fast charge and discharge, instantaneous high current discharge, low cost, easy maintenance and no pollution to the environment

 

These devices have earned their significance in numerous applications, viz., to power hybrid electric/electric vehicles and other power and electronic systems which require electrical energy for their operation. The main factors discouraging motorists  from switching to electric vehicles are the high investments cost, their short driving ranges and the lack of charging stations. Another major obstacle en route to the mass acceptance of electric cars is the charging time involved. The minutes involved in refueling conventional cars are so many folds shorter that it makes the situation almost incomparable. However, the charging durations could be dramatically shortened with the inclusion of supercapacitors. These alternative energy storage devices are fast charging and can therefore better support the use of economical energy in electric cars.

 

Energy storage devices called supercapacitors have become a hot area of research, in part because they can be charged rapidly and deliver intense bursts of power. Survey of 600 energy industry executives and experts, conducted by Lloyd’s Register predicted the emergence of supercapacitors, “It is electrical technologies that will transform storage, rather than mechanical storage or chemical technology innovations.” In particular, respondents expect supercapacitors, which will rapidly speed up charging times for large batteries, to have the greatest impact on storage.

 

Supercapacitors make a lot of sense for transit as  they remove the requirement of  overhead wires, and  since they start and stop frequently they can charge up quickly when they stop. An electric bus would have to carry enough batteries to power it for its entire run; a supercap powered bus or tram only has to make it to the next stop. According to the China Academy of Sciences website and China Daily, the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) has built a light rail system using supercaps that can be fully charged in a 30 second stop and then run three to five kilometres to the next stop. Eighty-five percent of the energy generated from braking the train is returned to the capacitors. It can travel at 70 km/h and hold 380 passengers.

Supercapacitors

Unlike batteries, which store electricity through a chemical reaction, capacitors store energy in an electric field.  Charging is done by applying a voltage differential on the positive and negative plates of the capacitor. Supercapacitors have many advantages over the LI-ion battery , they charge extremely fast ( 1-10 secs) compared to 10-60 min of LI Ion. They have high specific power, stroing 10,000 watts per kg compared to 1000-3000 by LI ion and have millions of charge cycles compared to 500 of battery. However, their specific energy is very small 5 Wh/ Kg compared to 100-200 of battery.

 

Despite the above-mentioned non-beneficial properties, the market of electric storage devices is still dominated by batteries. There are two reasons for this: one being that the energy density (i.e. the energy that can be stored in unit mass or volume) of batteries largely exceeds that of the supercapacitors, and the other being the self-discharge. The magnitude of the leakage current in the case of batteries and supercapacitors follows a voltage-dependent and
temperature-dependent curve, but while in the case of batteries it usually takes months for the charge to drop below 80%, in the case of supercapacitors it is usually a matter of hours.

 

Key requirements for supercapacitor electrodes are a large surface area and conductivity, combined with a simple production method. Another growing issue in supercapacitor production—mainly for smartphone and electric car technologies—is sustainability.

 

Meanwhile, supercapacitors are also facing challenges such as technical problems, establishing electrical parameter models, consistency testing, and establishing industrial standards.

 

Energy storage breakthrough could boost EV range and slash charge time

Lithium-ion batteries could be under threat after the development of polymer materials by the Universities of Bristol and Surrey, along with Superdielectrics Ltd, that could challenge the dominance of these traditional batteries – and they are ready to demonstrate their results. Only one year ago, the partners announced scientific results for novel polymer materials that have dielectric properties 1,000 to 10,000 times greater than existing electrolytes (electrical conductors). These stunning scientific findings have now been converted into ‘device’ scale technical demonstrations.

 

Researchers from the universities achieved practical capacitance values of up to 4F/cmon smooth low-cost metal foil electrodes. Existing supercapacitors on the market typically reach 0.3F/cm2 depending upon complex extended surface electrodes. More significantly, the researchers managed to achieve results of 11-20F/cmwhen the polymers were used with specially treated stainless-steel electrodes – the details of which are being kept private pending a patent application.

 

If these values of capacitance can be achieved in production, it could potentially see supercapacitors achieving energy densities of up to 180whr/kg  – greater than lithium ion batteries holds around 100-120 watt-hours per kilogram.

 

Supercapacitors have the ability to charge and discharge rapidly over very large numbers of cycles. However, because existing supercapacitors have poor energy density per kilogramme (currently around one twentieth of existing battery technology), they have been unable to compete with conventional battery energy storage. Even with this restriction, supercapacitor buses are already being used in China, but the current technology means that they need to stop to be recharged frequently (i.e. at almost every bus-stop).

 

The University of Bristol is going much further by producing a complex series-parallel cell structure in which both the total capacitance and operating voltage can be separately controlled. Based on these impressive results, Superdielectrics Ltd, the company behind this technology, is now looking to build a research and low volume production centre.  If successful in production, the material could not only be used as a battery for future mobile devices, but could also be used in refuelling stations for electric cars.

Supercapacitors based Battery will let phones charge in seconds and last for a week

A new type of battery that lasts for days with only a few seconds’ charge has been created by researchers at the University of Central Florida. The high-powered battery is packed with supercapacitors that can store a large amount of energy. It looks like a thin piece of flexible metal that is about the size of a finger nail and could be used in phones, electric vehicles and wearables, according to the researchers.

 

“If they were to replace the batteries with these supercapacitors, you could charge your mobile phone in a few seconds and you wouldn’t need to charge it again for over a week,” said Professor Nitin Choudhary, one of the researchers behind the new technology.

 

To date supercapacitors weren’t used to make batteries as they’d have to be much larger than those currently available. But the Florida researchers have overcome this hurdle by making their supercapacitors with tiny wires that are a nanometre thick. Coated with a high energy shell, the core of the wires is highly conductive to allow for superfast charging.

 

“For small electronic devices, our materials are surpassing the conventional ones worldwide in terms of energy density, power density and cyclic stability,” said Prof Choudhary. Cyclic stability refers to the number of times a battery can be fully charged and drained before it starts to degrade.

 

Sustainable highly conductive electrode materials from ultrathin carbon nanofiber aerogels derived from nanofibrillated

Carbon aerogels are ultralight, conductive materials, which are extensively investigated for applications in supercapacitor electrodes in electrical cars and cell phones. The authors also demonstrated that their wood-derived carbon aerogel worked well as a binder-free electrode for supercapacitor applications. The material displayed electrochemical properties comparable to commercial electrodes.

 

Another growing issue in supercapacitor production—mainly for smartphone and electric car technologies—is sustainability. However, sustainable and economical production of carbon aerogels as supercapacitor electrode materials is possible, propose Shu-Hong Yu and colleagues from the University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China. Chinese scientists have now found a way to make these electrodes sustainably. The aerogels can be obtained directly from cellulose nanofibrils, the abundant cell-wall material in wood, finds the study reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

New kind of supercapacitor made without carbon

However, all supercapacitors currently use components made of carbon, which require high temperatures and harsh chemicals to produce. Now researchers at MIT and elsewhere have for the first time developed a supercapacitor that uses no conductive carbon at all, and that could potentially produce more power than existing versions of this technology.

 

Mircea Dincă, an MIT associate professor of chemistry; Yang Shao-Horn, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy have found an entirely new class of materials for supercapacitors. Dincă and his team have been exploring for years a class of materials called metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, which are extremely porous, sponge-like structures. These materials have an extraordinarily large surface area for their size, much greater than the carbon materials do. That is an essential characteristic for supercapacitors, whose performance depends on their surface area. But MOFs have a major drawback for such applications: They are not very electrically conductive, which is also an essential property for a material used in a capacitor.

 

“One of our long-term goals was to make these materials electrically conductive,” Dincă says, even though doing so “was thought to be extremely difficult, if not impossible.” But the material did exhibit another needed characteristic for such electrodes, which is that it conducts ions (atoms or molecules that carry a net electric charge) very well.

 

“All double-layer supercapacitors today are made from carbon,” Dincă says. “They use carbon nanotubes, graphene, activated carbon, all shapes and forms, but nothing else besides carbon. So this is the first noncarbon, electrical double-layer supercapacitor.” One advantage of the material used in these experiments, technically known as Ni3(hexaiminotriphenylene)2, is that it can be made under much less harsh conditions than those needed for the carbon-based materials, which require very high temperatures above 800 degrees Celsius and strong reagent chemicals for pretreatment.

 

The team says supercapacitors, with their ability to store relatively large amounts of power, could play an important role in making renewable energy sources practical for widespread deployment. They could provide grid-scale storage that could help match usage times with generation times, for example, or be used in electric vehicles and other applications.

 

The new devices produced by the team, even without any optimization of their characteristics, already match or exceed the performance of existing carbon-based versions in key parameters, such as their ability to withstand large numbers of charge/discharge cycles. Tests showed they lost less than 10 percent of their performance after 10,000 cycles, which is comparable to existing commercial supercapacitors.

 

But that’s likely just the beginning, Dincă says. MOFs are a large class of materials whose characteristics can be tuned to a great extent by varying their chemical structure. Work on optimizing their molecular configurations to provide the most desirable attributes for this specific application is likely to lead to variations that could outperform any existing materials. “We have a new material to work with, and we haven’t optimized it at all,” he says. “It’s completely tunable, and that’s what’s exciting.”

 

 

While the MOF material has advantages in the simplicity and potentially low cost of manufacturing, the materials used to make it are more expensive than conventional carbon-based materials, Dincă says. “Carbon is dirt cheap. It’s hard to find anything cheaper.” But even if the material ends up being more expensive, if its performance is significantly better than that of carbon-based materials, it could find useful applications, he says.

 

This discovery is “very significant, from both a scientific and applications point of view,” says Alexandru Vlad, a professor of chemistry at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, who was not involved in this research. He adds that “the supercapacitor field was (but will not be anymore) dominated by activated carbons,” because of their very high surface area and conductivity. But now, “here is the breakthrough provided by Dinca et al.: They could design a MOF with high surface area and high electrical conductivity, and thus completely challenge the supercapacitor value chain! There is essentially no more need of carbons for this highly demanded technology.”

 

And a key advantage of that, he explains, is that “this work shows only the tip of the iceberg. With carbons we know pretty much everything, and the developments over the past years were modest and slow. But the MOF used by Dinca is one of the lowest-surface-area MOFs known, and some of these materials can reach up to three times more [surface area] than carbons. The capacity would then be astonishingly high, probably close to that of batteries, but with the power performance [the ability to deliver high power output] of supercapacitors.”

 

New technology for pre-replenishing lithium for lithium ion supercapacitors

Lithium nitride is a well-known positive pre-lithiation additive that can be used to compensate for the irreversible lithium loss that occurs on the negative side during the first charge, thereby increasing the specific energy of the energy storage device. However, in the electrode manufacturing process, lithium nitride would react with the most commonly used solvent, such as N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), acetonitrile (ACN) and N,N-dimethylacetamide (DMAC). The side reactions make it difficult to manufacture the lithium nitride containing electrode in scale. In this work, it was found that N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) can be used as a homogenizing solvent to prepare a stable lithium nitride-containing slurry and electrode. Then the problem is solved.

 

The electrode can realize pre-lithiation of the lithium ion supercapacitor negative electrode, greatly improve the specific energy of the device, and maintain excellent rate performance and cycle stability. The energy retention remains 90% after 10,000 cycles. This technology is expected to find application in other battery systems with low initial efficiency in anode (hard carbon, silicon, etc.)

 

This work was reported in Science Bulletin, entitled “DMF stabilized Li3N slurry for manufacturing self-prelithiatable lithium-ion capacitor” by Prof. Zhang Hongzhang and Li Xianfeng’s group in Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The researchers studied the common polar solvents and found that the presence of α-H is the main factor affecting the instability of the solvent on the surface of lithium nitride.

 

Super capacitor Market

Super Capacitor market worldwide is projected to grow by US$2.2 Million, guided by a compounded growth of 18.7%. Double Layer Capacitor,  displays the potential to grow at over 19.2%. The shifting dynamics supporting this growth makes it critical for businesses in this space to keep abreast of the changing pulse of the market. Poised to reach over US$1.7 Million by the year 2025, Double Layer Capacitor will bring in healthy gains adding significant momentum to global growth

 

At present, there are thousands of supercapacitor manufacturers around the world, of which Asian players occupy up to about 57%, followed by American ones with the share of around 26% and European counterparts holding 8%. Among them, Japan, the United States, Russia, South Korea and some European countries master comparatively mature technologies, dominating the global market.

 

As foreign countries started earlier in the field of supercapacitors and held advanced technologies, Japan-based Panasonic and Nec Tokin, the United States-based Maxwell and other foreign products ever seized more than 90% share of the Chinese market. But with the emergence of Chinese supercapacitor companies, the share of foreign products has dropped to about 60%.

 

Competitors identified in this market include, among others: AVX Corporation (USA), Cap-Xx Ltd. (Australia), Evans Capacitor Company (USA), Ioxus Inc. (USA), LS Mtron Ltd. (South Korea), Maxwell Technologies, Inc. (USA)
Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Japan), Nippon Chemi-Con Corporation (Japan), Skeleton Technologies GmbH (Germany), Spel Technologies Private Limited (India), TOKIN Corporation (Japan).

 

In terms of products, China’s competitiveness in button-type supercapacitors is weak, while foreign products account for almost 90% of the market segment. As for winding-type and large supercapacitors, China’s technical level is close to the international level, and the China-made supercapacitors make up 60%-70% of this domestic market segment.Supported by national policies, a number of Chinese listed companies have got involved in the supercapacitor industry, mainly including Nantong Jianghai Capacitor, Chengdu Xinzhu Road & bridge Machinery and Anhui Tongfeng Electronics

 

 

 

References and Resources also include:

http://news.mit.edu/2016/supercapacitor-made-without-carbon-1010

https://www.treehugger.com/public-transportation/supercapacitors-could-be-better-batteries-or-fuel-cells-clean-electric-powered-transit.html

http://www.autonews.com/article/20171114/BLOG15/171119889/french-tech-company-nawa-sees-ultracapacitor-battery-breakthrough

http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2018/february/supercapacitor.html

https://phys.org/news/2018-05-sustainable-highly-electrode-materials-ultrathin.html

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-01/scp-ntf011420.php

 

Cite This Article

 
International Defense Security & Technology (December 9, 2022) Super capacitors, breakthroughs are basis of innovations in electric transport to military directed energy weapons. Retrieved from https://idstch.com/technology/electronics/super-capacitors-breakthroughs-are-basis-of-innovations-in-electric-transport-to-military-directed-energy-weapons/.
"Super capacitors, breakthroughs are basis of innovations in electric transport to military directed energy weapons." International Defense Security & Technology - December 9, 2022, https://idstch.com/technology/electronics/super-capacitors-breakthroughs-are-basis-of-innovations-in-electric-transport-to-military-directed-energy-weapons/
International Defense Security & Technology July 20, 2020 Super capacitors, breakthroughs are basis of innovations in electric transport to military directed energy weapons., viewed December 9, 2022,<https://idstch.com/technology/electronics/super-capacitors-breakthroughs-are-basis-of-innovations-in-electric-transport-to-military-directed-energy-weapons/>
International Defense Security & Technology - Super capacitors, breakthroughs are basis of innovations in electric transport to military directed energy weapons. [Internet]. [Accessed December 9, 2022]. Available from: https://idstch.com/technology/electronics/super-capacitors-breakthroughs-are-basis-of-innovations-in-electric-transport-to-military-directed-energy-weapons/
"Super capacitors, breakthroughs are basis of innovations in electric transport to military directed energy weapons." International Defense Security & Technology - Accessed December 9, 2022. https://idstch.com/technology/electronics/super-capacitors-breakthroughs-are-basis-of-innovations-in-electric-transport-to-military-directed-energy-weapons/
"Super capacitors, breakthroughs are basis of innovations in electric transport to military directed energy weapons." International Defense Security & Technology [Online]. Available: https://idstch.com/technology/electronics/super-capacitors-breakthroughs-are-basis-of-innovations-in-electric-transport-to-military-directed-energy-weapons/. [Accessed: December 9, 2022]

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