Supercapacitors are energy storage devices that – unlike rechargeable batteries – can be charged within seconds and have an almost unlimited lifespan. They are already being used today wherever high power is needed within a short period of time: for example in defibrillators, when switching the automatic start-stop system, and in vehicle service brakes. To make supercapacitors also available for other applications, teams from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the Ruhr University of Bochum are researching new materials for these energy storage devices. In a study, they are presenting a concept with which the manufacturing process for supercapacitors can be made much more sustainable than before.
To this end, the research teams from Jena and Bochum are not only using renewable raw materials as starting material for the electrodes of the supercapacitors. »We have also further developed the manufacturing process in such a way that it can operate with practically no waste because any by-products that arise are not discarded but are used in the subsequent production process«, explains Prof. Dr Andrea Balducci. Upcycling by-products increases the productivity of the process – experts speak of atomic efficiency – by a factor of 15, according to the Professor of Applied Electrochemistry at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.
Leistenschneider D. et al. Solid-state transformation of aqueous to organic electrolyte -Enhancing the operating voltage window of ‘in situ electrolyte’ supercapacitors, Journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2020); DOI: https://doi.org/10.1039/D0SE00180E.