Scientists from UK’s University of Surrey, in collaboration with Augmented Optics Ltd. and the University of Bristol, have devised an amazing new technology that could revolutionize the way smartphones and even electric cars are charged. Cutting the charging time down to mere seconds in cases of phones and a couple of minutes for EVs, this innovative technology could give rise to a new class of supercapacitors that are around 1,000 to 10,000 times more powerful than today’s batteries.
In addition to being incredibly powerful and efficient, these ‘super batteries’ will significantly safer as well as more eco-friendly than the regular varieties. Central to the breakthrough is a new type of material that is created via a set of principles similar to the ones governing the production of soft contact lenses. Originally developed by Dr. Donald Highgate some 40 years back, the technique is used to generate a special polymer that is integral to the battery’s design.
Supercapacitors have often regarded as superior, more efficient alternatives to standard batteries, thanks to their ability to charge as well as discharge swiftly over the course of several cycles. Up until now, however, supercapacitors were built using materials that generally have poor energy density, compared to conventional batteries. Speaking about the project, Dr. Brendan Howlin, a researcher at the university, said:
There is a global search for new energy storage technology and this new ultra capacity supercapacitor has the potential to open the door to unimaginably exciting developments.
As part of the current research, the team has come up with a new and improved polymer that boasts incredibly high energy density, thus allowing laptops, smartphones, cameras and similar gadgets to be fully charged in a matter of seconds. That’s not all, though. According to the scientists, the new technology could cut down the charging time of electric vehicles to mere minutes. Dr. Ian Hamerton, a professor at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol, said:
While this research has potentially opened the route to very high density supercapacitors, these polymers have many other possible uses in which tough, flexible conducting materials are desirable, including bioelectronics, sensors, wearable electronics, and advanced optics. We believe that this is an extremely exciting and potentially game changing development.
Source: University of Surrey