Updated: 17-Oct-2008

 

 

Graphene Based Ultracapacitors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphene is a one atom thick structure of bonded carbon atoms that are densely packed in a honeycomb crystal lattice. It is best described as an atomic scale chicken wire of carbon atoms and their bonds. Shown above are very high resolution images of single sheets of graphene material.

 

With recent developments in power industry, increasing prices of energy and needs for storing energy from various new technologies, from regenerative braking in electric and hybrid vehicles, ultracapacitors are playing critical role as they can store and deliver energy in very short time unlike batteries. There has been tremendous research in this field to develop new materials which can store significant charge using nano-technology.

University of Texas at Austin, mechanical engineering professor Rod Ruoff has achieved a breakthrough in ultra-capacitors by using "graphene". Ruoff says, “Graphene’s surface area of 2630 m2/gram (almost the area of a football field in about 1/500th of a pound of material) means that a greater number of positive or negative ions in the electrolyte can form a layer on the graphene sheets resulting in exceptional levels of stored charge.” After about nine months of research with the new material, they have shown storage abilities similar to those of ultracapacitors already on the market, and they believe graphene's ultra thin structure will allow for sheets of the material to be stacked to increase energy storage and possibly double the current capacity of ultra-capacitors. This would allow ultracapacitors to expand into many other renewable and clean energy storage applications.

Please come back for more details on this technological breakthrough, current progress and its status in coming months. In meantime, enjoy some of the articles below.