Researchers report that wood-biochar supercapacitors can produce as much power as today’s activated-carbon supercapacitors at a fraction of the cost – and with environmentally friendly byproducts.
The report appears in the journal Electrochimica Acta.
“Supercapacitors are power devices very similar to our batteries,” said study leader Junhua Jiang, a senior research engineer at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois. While batteries rely on chemical reactions to produce sustained electrical energy, supercapacitors collect charged ions on their electrodes (in this case, the biochar), and quickly release those ions during discharge. This allows them to supply energy in short, powerful bursts – during a camera flash, for example, or in response to peak demand on the energy grid, Jiang said.
“Supercapacitors are ideal for applications needing instant power and can even provide constant power – like batteries, but at lower cost,” he said. They are useful in transportation, electronics and solar- and wind-power energy storage and distribution.
Many of today’s supercapacitors use activated carbon – usually from a fossil-fuel source, Jiang said.
“Costly and complicated procedures are normally used to develop the microstructures of the carbon – to increase the number of pores and optimize the pore network,” he said. “This increases the surface area of the electrode and the pores’ ability to rapidly capture and release the ions.”
In wood-biochar supercapacitors, the wood’s natural pore structure serves as the electrode surface, eliminating the need for advanced techniques to fabricate an elaborate pore structure. Wood biochar is produced by heating wood in low oxygen.
The pore sizes and configurations in some woods are ideal for fast ion transport, Jiang said. The new study used red cedar, but several other woods such as maple and cherry also work well.
Expensive and corrosive chemicals are often used to prepare the activated carbon used in supercapacitors, giving the electrodes the physical and chemical properties they need to function well, Jiang said.
“The use of those chemicals will probably impose some environmental impacts,” he said. “This should be avoided or at least substantially reduced.”
Jiang and his team activated their biochar with mild nitric acid, which washed away the ash (calcium carbonate, potassium carbonate and other impurities) in the biochar. The byproduct of this process has a beneficial use, Jiang said: The resulting solution of nitrate compounds can be used as fertilizer.
These simple approaches dramatically cut the material and environmental costs of assembling supercapacitors.
“The material costs of producing wood-biochar supercapacitors are five to 10 times lower than those associated with activated carbon,” Jiang said. And when a biochar supercapacitor has reached the end of its useful life, the electrodes can be crushed and used as an organic soil amendment that increases fertility.
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Fast charging, low-cost sodium-ion EV batteries developed by IIT researchers
Thanks to low-cost of sodium-ion-based technologies, electric cycles integrated with such batteries would be significantly cheaper.
- Researchers develop low-cost, fast-charging Sodium-ion batteries
IIT Kharagpur has used nano-materials to develop Sodium-ion-based batteries and supercapacitors for next-generation energy storage technologies and their use in e-vehicles.
- Future ready: IIT Kharagpur research team develops low-cost, fast-charging sodium-ion batteries and supercapacitors
They have developed sodium-ion batteries and capacitors, which can be used for next-generation energy storage technologies and in e-vehicles ...
- IIT Kharagpur Researchers Develop Low-cost, Fast-charging Sodium-ion Batteries
IIT Kharagpur experts have developed Sodium-ion-based batteries and supercapacitors for next-generation energy storage technologies and their use in e-vehicles using nano-materials.
- The Graphene Revolution Arrives in India
Graphene has the potential to revolutionize power and data storage, manufacturing tools, sports equipment, touchscreens, biosensors, and even supercapacitors.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- The Global Supercapacitor Market grew USD 13,939.38 million by 2027, at a CAGR of 24.23%.
Module Type, Application, Material, Region (Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe, Middle East & Africa) - Global Forecast to 2027 - Cumulative Impact of COVID-19New York, Aug. 03, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) ...
- Supercapacitor E-Bike With DIY Motor
Supercapacitor technology often looks like a revolutionary energy storage technology on the surface, but the actual performance numbers can be rather uninspiring. However, for rapid and repeated ...
- Capacitor to hybrid capacitor to supercapacitor: a powerful evolution in electrical energy delivery
For comparison, the Earth’s capacitance is a miserly 710 µF, 15m times less than a supercapacitor. These are usually limited to 2.5V – 2.7V. It is possible to go up to 2.8V and above but this shortens ...
- Minimalist Low Power Supercapacitor Sensor Node
[Strange.rand] has dropped into the low-power rabbit hole, and is designing a low-cost wireless sensor node that runs on solar power and a supercapacitor. The main components of the sensor node is ...
- Supercapacitor Global Market to Reach $912 million by 2027 at a CAGR of 14.1%
Dublin, July 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "Supercapacitor Market by Type (Double Layer Capacitors, Pseudocapacitors, Hybrid Capacitors), Electrode Material (Carbon, Metal Oxide, Conducting ...