Supercapacitors have the potential to pave the way for electric vehicles to charge in minutes, overcoming one of the most widely adopted barriers and benefiting drivers and the environment,media new Atlas reported. Scientists at Texas Agricultural University have taken a step toward achieving this goal by demonstrating a plant-based supercade with excellent energy storage potential.
Super capacitors can charge almost instantaneously and release huge amounts of energy when needed, a potential energy storage technology. We’ve seen some interesting advances in making equipment from sustainable materials, including recycled plastic bottles, marijuana and even discarded cigarette butts.
The team at Texas Agricultural University hopes to use a natural polymer called ligand to give plants and trees rigidity. This is mass produced by the paper industry as waste, and we’ve actually seen some interesting breakthroughs in our efforts to recycle this polymer into other products, such as stronger concrete and 3D-printed biomass.
However, the authors of the new study hope to use it as a material for super capacitor electrodes — manganese dioxide. Nanoparticles of this compound offer many benefits compared to other solutions, but electrochemical properties are where they tend to decline.
“Manganese dioxide is cheaper, more accessible, and safer than other transition metal oxides, such as vanadium or zinc oxide, which are commonly used to make electrodes,” said study author Liang Hong. “But one of the main disadvantages of manganese dioxide is that it is less conductive.”
Previous studies have shown that the combination of nitrogen and metal oxides can improve the electrical properties of super capacitor electrodes, but the team hopes to look at ways to specifically enhance the function of manganese dioxide. So they designed a super capacitor, two of which make up the key components.
The team first purifys the nicotonin in a common disinfectant, then exerts heat and pressure to break down the liquid and deposit manganese dioxide on the nimmide. The mixture is then coated with aluminum plates to form electrodes, which are then paired with another electrode made of aluminum and activated carbon to form a super capacitor with a gel electrolyte in the middle.
The new device is lightweight, flexible and cost-effective, increasing its potential as an energy storage element for automotive structures, the researchers said. They also reported that it had been tested with excellent tests and found that it had “very stable electrochemical properties” and maintained the ability to store charges in thousands of cycles.
Using existing literature, the researchers compared their performance with other advanced super capacitor designs, including super capacitors where electrodes are made entirely of activated carbon, or super capacitors where graphene is combined with other materials. In terms of capacitors, it outperforms them, which is often used to measure the device’s storage charge. When compared to a super capacitor made of electrodes made of tin di selenium, the new device provides 900 times its capacitance.
“Integrating biomass into energy storage equipment has always been tricky because it’s hard to control the electrical properties they produce and then seriously affect the life cycle and performance of the device.” Liang Hong said. “In addition, the production of biological materials generally includes chemical treatment, which is harmful to human health. We have designed an environmentally friendly energy storage unit that has excellent electrical performance and can be manufactured easily and safely at a much lower cost. “
The study was published in the journal Energy Storage.