Lithium-ion batteries can store a lot of energy but they need a lot of time to get charged up. On the other hand, ultra-capacitors are really quick chargers but can only store a bit of energy. So, what would happen if you crossbred them?
Batteries are one of the key limitations when designing and developing new technologies in many different fields. But the intense research that is being done is starting to bear fruit. The company Skeleton Technologies from Estonia with the help of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany and seemed to have finalized the development of a graphene superbattery that can be charged in just 15 seconds.
SuperBattery uses a hybrid technology with a graphene construction that combines lithium-ion batteries with Skeleton Technologies’ ultra-capacitors which makes it much better than conventional lithium-ion based batteries. The two components work in tandem and both show their benefits.
The thing is – lithium-ion based batteries provide very high energy density but also take a lot of time to both charge and discharge. That is why it takes so long for your phone, laptop, or even electric car to charge. That limits the potential of a lot of devices that would like to use them.
On the other hand, ultra-capacitors or super-capacitors work on completely different principles than traditional chemical lithium-ion batteries. They store energy through static electric charge. That allows them to charge and discharge very quickly for thousands of cycles without losing capacity. On the other hand, their energy density is at the very least… not satisfactory. To store the same amount of energy you would need much larger super-capacitors than lithium-ion based batteries.
An interesting solution to this is to use a hybrid system. The lithium part of such a system can store a lot of energy for a long time. And the ultra-capacitor part provides quick charging and discharging. Similar hybrid technologies are now starting to show up in the plans of the creators of electric vehicles. For example, Tesla recently bought the maker of ultra-capacitors Maxwell Technologies.
The key part in the superbattery from Skeleton is their patented carbon material called Curved Graphene. Using it allows for high performance of the ultra-capacitors. This material was developed by Skeleton with the support from the EIT InnoEnergy program that is part of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology. And according to the leaders of KIT, their cooperation with Skeleton is very promising. They are counting on SuperBattery getting into commercial applications and hopefully, this technology should change the rules in the automotive industry.
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