With the aid of one of the strongest materials on Earth, a researcher at Australia’s Swinburne University has created a battery that charges up super fast and can be used over and over and over again, without losing efficiency. Researcher Han Lin developed the battery using a form of carbon called graphene, which is commonly heralded as one of the strongest materials on the planet. The new supercapacitor addresses many of the shortcomings of traditional lithium ion batteries, beating them in charging time, lifespan, and also environmental impact.
Researchers around the globe have worked on expanding the capabilities of supercapacitors for many years, but they are typically limited in storage capacity. Han overcame this problem by adding sheets of graphene, which have a large surface area for energy storage due to the material’s honeycomb structure. The material is also strong and flexible at the same time. The researcher used a 3D printer to create the graphene sheets, resulting in a cost-effective energy storage method that could someday replace the batteries in our cell phones and electric cars.
The new supercapacitor’s ultra-quick charging time—just seconds compared to the minutes or hours needed by a lithium-based battery—is its primary selling point, as it eliminates the inconvenience of long charging times. The graphene-enhanced battery also costs less than a traditional lithium ion battery over the course of its lifetime, due to its unique ability to withstand more recharges without losing strength.
Han presented his new supercapacitor at Fresh Science Victoria 2016 earlier this year.