Energy storage is a critical research subject that is being dragged in all possible directions to increase energy density and power output. Lithium-ion batteries are ruling electric energy storage systems in EVs and renewable power generation for now and in the coming years, but researchers in Skeleton Technologies are eyeing products called supercapacitors and superbatteries that are capable of bringing immense changes in the future.
Capabilities of supercapacitors
The capacitor is an electric device that stores electric energy electrostatically, and they don’t require a chemical reaction in the process to store and transfer energy. It stores energy by using two conductive plates separating equal and opposite charges having insulation of 10-100 microns.
Capacitors don’t store massive energy like batteries but have a good power output that stays the same for decades without losing quality. Incorporating those metal plates with the most conductive composition on the planet called graphene, reducing the distance to 1,000th of a micron, and filling either side of the insulator with electrolyte creates a supercapacitor that has a much stronger electric field and has an energy storage capacity of almost 100,000 times more than a normal capacitor.
Supercapacitors, an umbrella term for energy storage devices like ultracapacitors, are supposedly much cheaper, lighter, and compact compared to the power burst they provide. The inclusion of these capacitors in the Warsaw tram network increased the 30% efficiency of the system by providing accelerating power to the trams at every stop, as they charge in second and are able to provide high output power for a few minutes.
These aspects give supercapacitors potential applications for providing instant power and can be a renewable energy source. This can be used in power plants, automobiles, and space power applications. The product is ready to launch by 2023 and is being tried and examined in many potential applications.
Capabilities of superbatteries
Supercapacitors are not coming to compete with lithium-ion batteries, but superbatteries are. Superbatteries are basically improved supercapacitors technology by combining many graphene curves to increase the storage density by compensating for power output. Although these will have lower power output than supercapacitors, they’ll have 10 times higher energy storage density.
The considerable advantage is that the superbattery will get fully charged within 30 seconds only because of the used electrostatic technology. A lithium-ion battery has a maximum of 3,000 life cycles, whereas Skeleton Technologies’ superbatteries will have 50,000+ life cycles with an energy density of 65wH/kg. Its energy density will be almost four times less than that of a lithium-ion battery.
YouTube: Skeleton Technologies’ energy-saving ultracapacitor solutions for port cranes
Photo credits: The images used are owned by Skeleton Technologies and have been provided for press usage.
Sources: Loz Blain (NewAtlas) / SparkFun