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New Graphene + Carbon Nanotube Supercapacitor Rivals Lithium Battery

An international team of researchers has come up with a recipe for a microscale flexible energy storage device made of graphene and carbon nanotubes, which can store enough energy to rival the gold standard, lithium batteries. That’s significant because the device is actually not a battery, it is a supercapacitor that can charge and discharge much faster than a battery.

It’s also significant because the research team has devised a fabrication method that results in a long fiber (long as in 50 meters long, so far). That opens up all sorts of opportunities for weaving the new supercapacitor into clothing to power portable electronics. Since the fiber also doubles as a conductor, it can also be used in place of wires to reduce the size and weight of portable devices, including medical implant.
graphene CNT supercapacitor

Previous study of graphene/CNT supercapacitor (published 2009) courtesy of Case Western.
Batteries vs. Supercapacitors: A Quick Review

Batteries and supercapacitors both store energy, but there’s a catch. Batteries have a higher energy density which means they can store energy for longer periods, but they have low power density. That means they can’t discharge quickly.

Supercapacitors have the opposite problem: their low energy density means they can’t store as much energy, but their high power density enables them to deliver energy rapidly when needed.

The trick to solving the energy density problem for supercapacitors is to find a material with a relatively high proportion of surface area available for energy storage.

More cleantechnica.com

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