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Graphene Supercapacitors Can Charge Up to 1000x Faster Than Today's Batteries

By - Source: UCLA | B 48 comments

Electrochemical capacitors, commonly called supercapacitors, have recently gained some attention as potential battery replacements.

There have been capacitors that are being used in computer mice, but supercapacitors that hold substantially greater charges than regular capacitors have not been useful beyond the application of bridging brief power interruptions so far.

That may change as researchers at UCLA claim to have found a way to increase their energy density and turn them into a viable alternative for batteries. Those new supercapacitors use electrodes built from graphene, a promising high-tech material that already has shown superior mechanical and electrical properties in the past and apparently revealed "excellent electrochemical attributes under high mechanical stress" in the UCLA research, which is published in the current edition of Science.

The scientists claim that their supercapacitors hold just about as much charge as a regular battery, but come with a feature that could transform the way we use gadgets and other battery driven products, such as electric cars. Richard Kaner, professor of chemistry & materials science and engineering, said that these supercapacitors "be charged and discharged a hundred to a thousand times faster" than batteries. Their study even included an explanation how to effectively produce "high-performance" supercapacitors via a solid-state approach that avoids the restacking of graphene sheets.

That process is based on "coating a DVD disc with a film of graphite oxide that is then laser treated inside a LightScribe DVD drive to produce graphene electrodes," the researchers said.

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  • 37 Hide
    teodoreh , March 26, 2012 10:20 AM
    We finally found the first person who actually used LightScribe on his DVDRW ;D
  • 22 Hide
    friskiest , March 26, 2012 10:42 AM
    I actually blinked twice once I got to the disk/Lightscribe part, anyway, these supercapacitors should solve the long charge times for current e-vehicles.
  • 10 Hide
    lahawzel , March 26, 2012 1:24 PM
    You people could just read the Wikipedia article on supercapacitors instead of asking all these questions, you know...
Other Comments
  • 37 Hide
    teodoreh , March 26, 2012 10:20 AM
    We finally found the first person who actually used LightScribe on his DVDRW ;D
  • 22 Hide
    friskiest , March 26, 2012 10:42 AM
    I actually blinked twice once I got to the disk/Lightscribe part, anyway, these supercapacitors should solve the long charge times for current e-vehicles.
  • 5 Hide
    speakmymind , March 26, 2012 10:47 AM
    don't know how many charge/discharge cycles you can get it out of this thing
  • -8 Hide
    joytech22 , March 26, 2012 10:47 AM
    So your saying.. Part of the manufacturing process involves putting a CD into a Lightscribe drive?
    Also, they should implement it ASAP before it just dies like that Kony thing into the back of peoples minds.
  • 9 Hide
    fixxxer113 , March 26, 2012 11:03 AM
    clever use of Lighscribe. If you think of it, it's actually a high precision laser etching tool!
  • -5 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , March 26, 2012 11:26 AM
    these have been around since many many years ago. Yet we don't see any practical application of the technology that could save the world.
  • 4 Hide
    IndignantSkeptic , March 26, 2012 11:53 AM
    FFS when are we gonna get graphene technology finally? is there anything that graphene cannot do perfectly yet?
  • 4 Hide
    southernshark , March 26, 2012 12:17 PM
    IndignantSkepticFFS when are we gonna get graphene technology finally? is there anything that graphene cannot do perfectly yet?



    I suspect that it will come onto the scene the same time that safe and inexpensive hair cloning is released.
  • 5 Hide
    chomlee , March 26, 2012 12:42 PM
    I am not sure of the advantage yet. Havent capacitors always had the ability to charge much faster than a battery? The issue is that it discharges pretty much as fast as it charges and you can't store the power for long periods of time like a battery, correct? If I am wrong and you can hold the charge, then great. Otherwise I don't really see the imediate benefit.
  • 4 Hide
    CaedenV , March 26, 2012 12:44 PM
    teodorehWe finally found the first person who actually used LightScribe on his DVDRW ;D

    LOL, when lightscribe first came out I thought it was cool, but quickly realized that it was far cheaper/easier and looked better to simply use a sharpie.

    speakmyminddon't know how many charge/discharge cycles you can get it out of this thing

    Indeed. My bet is that it would 1) be even more incredibly expensive than current batteries (especially if the manufacturing process requires you to run a DVD duplication plant to make your product lol). And 2) Either break down easier than current battery tech, or else have a much small capacity/range because these types of caps are generally meant for immediate use rather than long-slow usage... but imagine an electric motorcycle on one of these thing for a drag race :) 

    I don't mean to say that the electric car will never catch on, but the quickest route to get it to work is to move over to nuclear power plants, and have them make hydrogen fuel cells during non-peak hours. It is relatively cheap, it is extremely clean (MUCH cleaner than normal battery tech), has more stable/longer lasting power, better capacity for longer ranges, less weight than batteries, no worrying about battery memories or other battery care issues... I mean really the only reason we will never do this is because of nuclear tech being such a hot-button issue and there is (until we get alge making it for us) no other easy way to make the hydrogen in mass.
  • 5 Hide
    danwat1234 , March 26, 2012 1:10 PM
    This is great tech, but to recharge an electric car or laptop or what have you 'x' number of times quicker, the voltage adapter may have to be 'x' times larger to deal with the 'x' times more heat generated from the voltage conversion.
  • -3 Hide
    kcorp2003 , March 26, 2012 1:13 PM
    speakmyminddon't know how many charge/discharge cycles you can get it out of this thing


    ^ this.
  • 10 Hide
    lahawzel , March 26, 2012 1:24 PM
    You people could just read the Wikipedia article on supercapacitors instead of asking all these questions, you know...
  • 2 Hide
    kikireeki , March 26, 2012 1:41 PM
    A very good advancement, but a lot of such news has emerged in the past two years, and we yet to see anything making its way into production.
  • 9 Hide
    aplusbex , March 26, 2012 1:53 PM
    speakmyminddon't know how many charge/discharge cycles you can get it out of this thing

    Since those are capacitors and there is no chemical reaction involved almost infinite under normal conditions also with no lost of performance during their lifetime.
  • -5 Hide
    Au_equus , March 26, 2012 2:11 PM
    aplusbexSince those are capacitors and there is no chemical reaction involved almost infinite under normal conditions also with no lost of performance during their lifetime.

    how do you think graphene stores the charge? this capacitor works through the simultaneous oxidation of graphene to graphene oxide and its reduction back to graphene via laser or electrical current. you have chemicals and a supply of energy, thus new bonds can be broken and new ones formed. very few things have 'infinte lifetimes' and this one is not among them
  • -3 Hide
    sporkimus , March 26, 2012 2:17 PM
    Won't make much difference. Soon as the added performance of the batteries are available, there will be technology in place to use it all up... hence making it last no longer than the current batteries of today. Pretty much how it goes for anything. Extra performance is made available and then that performance is soaked up by additional features.
  • 5 Hide
    fonzy , March 26, 2012 2:29 PM
    Just like every other breakthrough we see in the news for what ever reason it won't see the light of day.
  • 1 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , March 26, 2012 2:46 PM
    john_4Been asking this question for a long time, "Why not use a big capacitor or bank of smaller ones instead of batteries" The life expectancy would greatly increase. Sadly, there has been allot of good inventions throughout history that have been buried because of political/corporate shenanigans.


    Because in order to use a bank of capacitors like a battery you need a lot of voltage regulation hardware to go with it. It's cheaper and easier in the end to just use a battery.
  • 4 Hide
    thegreatms , March 26, 2012 2:58 PM
    The real question is can this scale to a viable production level. It can take years (or forever) to transition from a cool university lab test to a real product.

    First you have to make the size of your capacitor/battery large enough to be useful. Then you have to find a way to make thousands or millions of them. While keeping the cost to a level that will be acceptable in the market.

    These are the reasons that we see an article like the above ever few weeks, but radical improvements only happen ever few years, or more.
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