Researchers have made a ‘ground-breaking’ discovery that could soon lead to smartphones being charged in seconds.
The newly discovered supercapcitor electrolytes could also see electric cars being recharged in the amount of time it takes to fill up a petrol vehicle.
Conducted by a team from the University of Surrey and Augmented Optics Ltd., in collaboration with the University of Bristol, the research is said to have the potential for a ‘transformational impact’.
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Supercapacitors, an alternative power source to batteries, store electricity but until now, have not been able to compete with the amount of electricity batteries store.
With capacitance values that are 1,000-10,000 times higher than conventional supercapitor materials, the new supercapacitor electrolytes will mean supercapacitors are likely to surpass current battery technology.
If this latest breakthrough translates into very high energy density super-capacitors, then you could be recharging your mobile phone or laptop in a matter of seconds.
It could also lead to electric cars having similar capabilities to petrol or diesel cars when it comes to range. Whereas current electric cars can take around 6-8 hours to recharge, the new technology could mean the vehicles can be refilled in minutes.
Dr Ian Hamerton, Reader in Polymers and Composite Materials from the Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Bristol said: “While this research has potentially opened the route to very high density supercapacitors, these polymers have many other possible uses in which tough, flexible conducting materials are desirable, including bioelectronics, sensors, wearable electronics, and advanced optics.
“We believe that this is an extremely exciting and potentially game changing development.”
Of course, the tech is a long way from making it into a commercially available product, but things certainly seem to be going in the right direction.
Jim Heathcote, Chief Executive of both Augmented Optics Ltd and Supercapacitor Materials Ltd, said: “The test results from the new polymers suggest that extremely high energy density supercapacitors could be constructed in the very new future.
“We are now actively seeking commercial partners in order to supply our polymers and offer assistance to build these ultra high energy density storage devices.”
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