Graphene is turning out to be a miracle substance for electronics and electric vehicles. The latest use for graphene is in a new energy storage system that will enable charging electric vehicles (EVs) and plugin electric vehicles (PEVs) in less than a minute rather than hours as it does today.
According to PhysOrg scientists at Nanotek Instruments Inc. and Angstron Materials in Dayton, Ohio, have developed a new energy storage device called ‘"graphene surface-enabled lithium ion-exchanging cells," or more simply, "surface-mediated cells" (SMCs)’. These devices can transfer massive amounts of lithium ions between electrodes. The electrodes have huge graphene surfaces.
Graphene has several properties that have made it the “go to” material for future batteries, supercapcitors, and transistors. Ron Beech, director of marketing for Angstron Materials, outlined several of them in the peer review journal, Nanotechnology Law and Business.
- The highest known conductivity today (up to ~ 5,300 W/(mK), five times that of copper, a capability that provides faster thermal dissipation;5
- Electrical conductivity similar to copper, yet the graphene’s density is four times lower resulting in lighter weight components;
- Many times stronger than steel with a surface area twice that of carbon nanotubes;6
- Ultra-high Young’s modulus (approximately 1,000 GPa) and highest intrinsic strength (~130 GPa estimated);7
- High specific surface area (~ 2,675 m2/g);8
- Low density;9 and
- Outstanding resistance to gas permutation.10
Angstron scientists still need to optimize device “materials and configurations” but it already outperforms both batteries and supercapcitors. The new SMCs have a power density “100 times higher than that of commercial Li-ion batteries and 10 times higher than that of supercapacitors.” It’s storage density is the equivalent of commercial Li-ion batteries and 30 times higher than supercapcitors.
If the unoptimized SMCs were used in place of Li-ion batteries, EVs would get the same range and they would also be able to recharge in minutes maybe less than a minute. That is a far cry from the charging times of Li-ion batteries that require several hours for a full charge. Optimized SMCs could do even better.
SMCs seem to provide the benefits of both batteries and supercapcitors without the downsides of either. If so, EVs will become a lot more popular and recharging stations may be placed alongside gas pumps. Charging your EV would be faster than pumping gas and cheaper too.
Photo from Angstron Materials.