Navigation Links
New carbon material shows promise of storing large quantities of renewable electrical energy
Date:9/16/2008

Engineers and scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have achieved a breakthrough in the use of a one-atom thick structure called "graphene" as a new carbon-based material for storing electrical charge in ultracapacitor devices, perhaps paving the way for the massive installation of renewable energies such as wind and solar power.

The researchers believe their breakthrough shows promise that graphene (a form of carbon) could eventually double the capacity of existing ultracapacitors, which are manufactured using an entirely different form of carbon.

"Through such a device, electrical charge can be rapidly stored on the graphene sheets, and released from them as well for the delivery of electrical current and, thus, electrical power," says Rod Ruoff, a mechanical engineering professor and a physical chemist. "There are reasons to think that the ability to store electrical charge can be about double that of current commercially used materials. We are working to see if that prediction will be borne out in the laboratory."

Two main methods exist to store electrical energy: in re-chargeable batteries and in ultracapacitors which are becoming increasingly commercialized but are not yet as popularly known. An ultracapacitor can be used in a wide range of energy capture and storage applications and are used either by themselves as the primary power source or in combination with batteries or fuel cells. Some advantages of ultracapacitors over more traditional energy storage devices (such as batteries) include: higher power capability, longer life, a wider thermal operating range, lighter, more flexible packaging and lower maintenance, Ruoff says.

Ruoff and his team prepared chemically modified graphene material and, using several types of common electrolytes, have constructed and electrically tested graphene-based ultracapacitor cells. The amount of electrical charge stored per weight (called "specific capacitance") of the graphene material has already rivaled the values available in existing ultracapacitors, and modeling suggests the possibility of doubling the capacity.

"Our interest derives from the exceptional properties of these atom-thick and electrically conductive graphene sheets, because in principle all of the surface of this new carbon material can be in contact with the electrolyte," says Ruoff, who holds the Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering #7. "Graphene's surface area of 2630 m2/gram (almost the area of a football field in about 1/500th of a pound of material) means that a greater number of positive or negative ions in the electrolyte can form a layer on the graphene sheets resulting in exceptional levels of stored charge."

The U.S. Department of Energy has said that an improved method for storage of electrical energy is one of the main challenges preventing the substantial installation of renewable energies such as wind and solar power. Storage is vital for times when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine. During those times, the stored electrical energy can be delivered through the electrical grid as needed.

Ruoff's team includes graduate student Meryl Stoller and post-doctoral fellows Sungjin Park, Yanwu Zhu, and Jinho An, all from the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Texas Materials Institute at the university. Their findings will be published in the Oct. 8 edition of Nano Letters. The article was posted on the journal's Web site this week.

This technology, Stoller says, has the promise of significantly improving the efficiency and performance of electric and hybrid cars, buses, trains and trams. Even everyday devices such as office copiers and cell phones benefit from the improved power delivery and long lifetimes of ultracapacitors.

Ruoff says significant implementation of wind farms for generation of electricity is occurring throughout the world and the United States, with Texas and California first and second in the generation of wind power.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, in 2007 wind power installation grew 45 percent in this country. Ruoff says if the energy production from wind turbine technology grew at 45 percent annually for the next 20 years, the total energy production (from wind alone) would almost equal the entire energy production of the world from all sources in 2007.

"While it is unlikely that such explosive installation and use of wind can continue at this growth rate for 20 years, one can see the possibilities, and also ponder the issues of scale," he says. "Electrical energy storage becomes a critical component when very large quantities of renewable electrical energy are being generated."


'/>"/>

Contact: Rod Ruoff
r.ruoff@mail.utexas.edu
512-471-4691
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Carbon molecule with a charge could be tomorrows semiconductor
2. True properties of carbon nanotubes measured
3. Carbon Nanoprobes, Inc Announces Production Agreement With Leading MEMS Foundry
4. A phonon floodgate in monolayer carbon
5. Carbon hoofprint: Cows supplemented with rbST reduce agricultures environmental impact
6. LLNL researchers peer into water in carbon nanotubes
7. Carbon nanoribbons could make smaller, speedier computer chips
8. Awareness of Genzymes Renvela(R) (Sevelamer Carbonate) is High, Although Uptake of this New Phosphate Binding Agent has Been Slower than Nephrologists and Renal Dietitians Initially Expected
9. Breakthrough in nanotechnology by uncovering conductive property of carbon-based molecules
10. Carbon nanotube measurements: latest in NIST how-to series
11. Carbon nanotubes made into conductive, flexible stained glass
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Customers often prefer ... again and again. METTLER TOLEDO has released two new videos that show how ... integration of the ACT350 into Siemens and Allen Bradley PLCs is easy and ...
(Date:5/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 19, 2017 , ... ... meeting and educational conference of the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) and the ... Hotel in Houston. The conference reinforces AAB’s commitment to excellence in clinical laboratory ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... Mass. (PRWEB) , ... May 18, 2017 , ... ... the procedure on April 28, 2017 at the Prince Of Wales Private Hospital. ... cervical disc at level C6-C7. The patient failed conservative treatments prior to undergoing ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... , ... May 17, 2017 ... ... standards with psychonneuroendocrine stress expertise, and further enhances its scientific power by ... Douglas A. Granger, Ph.D., has agreed to join the scientific advisory board. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/27/2017)... N.Y. , March 27, 2017  Catholic ... Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for ... EMR Adoption Model sm . In addition, CHS ... of U.S. hospitals using an electronic medical record ... for its high level of EMR usage in ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle Access System ... over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million by 2025. ... forecasts for all the given segments on global as well as ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global ... of around 8.8% over the next decade to reach approximately $14.21 ... market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):