Extraordinary Ultracapacitor Performance with a Novel Carbon

Physical Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Rodney Ruoff, Ph.D. , Mechanical Engineering
  • Yanwu Zhu, Ph.D. , Mechanical Engineering
  • Meryl Stoller , Mechanical Engineering
  • Shanthi Murali , Mechanical Engineering

Background/unmet need

The growing interest in alternative energy usage is driving the demand for highly efficient, high-performance electrical capacitors. Capacitors are physical devices that store electrical charge for discharge (use) at a later time. Instead of using chemicals, like batteries, capacitors use only physical means for storing charge, enabling many more charge/discharge cycles across broader temperature ranges with much less loss between cycles.

Ultracapacitors are devices designed to store orders of magnitude (1,000,000 times) more charge than conventional capacitors. The growing importance of renewable energy is driving a great deal of research around the world with the objective of optimizing ultracapacitor performance and reducing materials costs.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel version of graphene through proprietary manufacturing techniques and chemical activation. The new material, a-MEGO, demonstrates outstanding performance characteristics for electrical conductivity and energy density when compared with existing graphene-based ultracapacitors. Energy densities on the order of 4X and power densities on the order of 10X compared with known products have been measured.

Benefits/Advantages

  • Increased charge capacity
  • Increased power density
  • increased energy density 
  • scalable manufacturing process

Market potential/applications

Commercial power grids are utilizing ultracapacitors to help reduce power fluctuations, thereby improving power quality. Energy storage for solar and wind power systems require high performance, rapid charge/discharge capabilities such as ultracapacitors provide. A growing demand for electric vehicles is a large area of opportunity for ultracapacitors, as noted in studies by NREL and others. 

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status