So, my brother told me about this wonder material that may get us all into electric cars much quicker than we imagine. To my surprise I hadn’t heard of it yet. Too busy putting out wild-fires of a Trumpian nature, I guess. Anyways the ‘wonder material’ is a 1-atom thick fabric of carbon rings, that is poised to change much of how energy gets stored and used. And re-used; quickly, efficiently, extendedly.
It is called: Graphene.
So let me put a spark or two into your day. Here’s the skinny on that very thin, and energy-dense “super-capacitor” which is destined to change our 21st century world.
What is Graphene?
Article last updated on: Mar 26, 2019 — from an excellent resource: graphene-info.com
Graphene is a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. It is the building-block of Graphite (which is used, among others things, in pencil tips), but graphene is a remarkable substance on its own — with a multitude of astonishing properties which repeatedly earn it the title “wonder material”.
Graphene is an exciting material that is getting a lot of attention - especially since the 2010 Nobel prize in physics went to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who first isolated Graphene in 2004.
Graphene is an extremely diverse material, and can be combined with other elements (including gases and metals) to produce different materials with various superior properties. Researchers all over the world continue to constantly investigate and patent graphene to learn its various properties and possible applications, which include:
- computer chips
- energy generation
- DNA sequencing
- water filters
- touchscreens (for LCD or OLED displays)
- solar cells
- Spintronics-related products
Graphene is the thinnest material known to man at one atom thick, and also incredibly strong — about 200 times stronger than steel. On top of that, graphene is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity and has interesting light absorption abilities. It is truly a material that could change the world, with unlimited potential for integration in almost any industry.
So it’s good in theory, but is anyone doing anything with it yet? “Application” is always the ‘last mile’ which typically is the hardest to achieve. Given the economic-inertia of the “economies of scale” and so forth …
From laptops that charge in 15 minutes to electric scooters, the first round of graphene-based products could finally deliver on the promise of the much-hyped wonder material
by Amit Katwala, wired.co.uk — 16 August 2018
The market for graphene batteries is predicted to reach $115 million by 2022, but it has huge potential beyond that as the technology improves, and a number of companies have attracted significant interest in their work.
These include Chinese company Dongxu Optoelectronics, which announced a graphene supercapacitor with the capacity of a typical laptop battery that could charge up in 15 minutes, instead of a few hours. Barcelona-based startup Earthdas has used graphene to create supercapacitors for electric bicycles and motorcycles, which can be charged 12 times faster than lithium-ion batteries. It plans to start selling them later this year.
Many of this new breed of supercapacitors aren’t strictly graphene, a term which technically refers only to the two dimensional sheets of carbon. Although it already has a huge surface area, efforts are ongoing to increase that by adapting graphene in different ways – poking tiny holes and channels into it, or texturing it at the nanoscale level.
Estonian company SkeletonTech offer a range of products that incorporate curved graphene, while Oxfordshire-based ZapGo use a mixture of graphene and carbon nanotubes that resembles peaks and valleys rather than just flat layers. Their first products – an electric scooter, and jump-starting kit for cars – will hit the market later this year.
There’s still work to do before graphene supercapacitors can hold their charge for long enough to be a practical alternative to lithium-ion for most applications, however. Some have suggested hybrid systems – supercapacitors for fast-charging, with traditional batteries for long-term storage.
Researchers mix graphene and sulphur for battery breakthrough
by Gareth Halfacree, bit-tech.net — April 29, 2019
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden claim to have made a breakthrough in the development of lithium sulphur batteries, offering a fivefold increase in energy density over today's lithium-ion, using a graphene sponge.
Graphene, a honeycomb lattice of carbon measuring just one atom thick, has been positioned as a miracle material for a range of technologies - including batteries, where it has been available on the market since 2012. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, though, have now found a way to use a graphene sponge to help bring energy-dense lithium sulphur batteries to market - potentially boosting the lifespan of future mobile devices fivefold.
Where a traditional battery is made up of four key parts - the anode, cathode, electrolyte, and a separator so the anode and cathode electrodes don't make direct contact - the researchers' work sees the cathode and electrolyte combined into a single liquid dubbed a 'catholyte'. Previously, though, this combination — while offering reduced weight, faster charging, and improved capacities — proved unreliable.
The solution: The insertion of a layer of graphene aerogel. 'You take the aerogel, which is a long thin cylinder, and then you slice it – almost like a salami. You take that slice and compress it, to fit into the battery,' explains lead researcher Carmen Cavallo. 'The porous structure of the graphene aerogel is key. It soaks up a high amount of the catholyte, giving you high enough sulphur loading to make the catholyte concept worthwhile. This kind of semi-liquid catholyte is really essential here. It allows the sulphur to cycle back and forth without any losses. It is not lost through dissolution – because it is already dissolved into the catholyte solution.'
The redesigned battery could, the researchers claim, scale up to a theoretical maximum energy density of 1,500 watt-hours per kilogramme — a considerable boost over the 350 watt-hours per kilogramme available from perfect lithium-ion batteries. 'Furthermore, sulphur is cheap, highly abundant, and much more environmentally friendly,' adds Professor Aleksander Matic. 'Lithium sulphur batteries also have the advantage of not needing to contain any environmentally harmful fluorine, as is commonly found in lithium ion batteries.'
The prototype created by the research team shows an 85 percent capacity retention after 350 charge-discharge cycle, proving considerably more reliable than previous lithium sulphur efforts. The team, however, warns that there is a long road to commercialisation still ahead: 'Since these batteries are produced in an alternative way from most normal batteries,' explains Professor Matic, 'new manufacturing processes will need to be developed to make them commercially viable.'
The team's work is published in the Journal of Power Sources under open access terms and a Creative Commons licence.
Aerogels — super strong substances, lighter than air.
Grabat graphene batteries — www.pocket-lint.com
Graphene batteries have the potential to be one of the most superior available. Grabat has developed graphene batteries that could offer electric cars a driving range of up to 500 miles on a charge.
Graphenano, the company behind the development, says the batteries can be charged to full in just a few minutes and can charge and discharge 33 times faster than lithium ion. Discharge is also crucial for things like cars that want vast amounts of power in order to pull away quickly.
There's no word on if Grabat batteries are currently being used in any products, but the company has batteries available for cars, drones, bikes and even the home.
Aaah yes, that infamous “5-Years” horizon … IF ONLY, we had Infrastructure Budgets directed towards meeting worthwhile goals like this. The inevitable goals of the Future.
Graphene-Based Supercapacitors Could Lead To Battery-Free Electric Cars Within 5 Years
Batteries seem to be the limiting factor in the popularity of electric cars. They are one of the most expensive components of the vehicle, and have limited range compared with gasoline powered vehicles. While there have been some impressive advances in recent years, a team of researchers have created a supercapacitor film that could replace the need for a battery altogether within the next five years. The collaboration between scientists at Rice University and Queensland University of Technology resulted in two papers, published in Journal of Power Sources and Nanotechnology.
The supercapacitor consists of two layers of graphene with an electrolyte layer in the middle. The film is strong, exceedingly thin, and is able to release a large amount of energy in a short amount of time, which is essential.
Ordinary batteries take up a large amount of space, whereas the supercapacitor film could be integrated into multiple areas of the vehicle, such as the body panels, roof, floor, and doors. A supercapacitor this large could provide the vehicle with the amount of energy it needs, while making the vehicle itself much lighter.
The graphene-based supercapacitor film would be able to be fully charged in a matter of minutes, rather than the several hours it takes for a conventional battery. But while it might charge and release energy faster than standard batteries, they currently don’t hold nearly as much energy. This is one aspect that the scientists hope to change with further study.
"In the future, it is hoped the supercapacitor will be developed to store more energy than a Li-Ion battery while retaining the ability to release its energy up to 10 times faster — meaning the car could be entirely powered by the supercapacitors in its body panels,” added co-author Jinzhang Liu. "After one full charge, this car should be able to run up to 500km (310 miles) — similar to a petrol-powered car and more than double the current limit of an electric car.”
Because the supercapacitors are made out of graphene, a layer of carbon only one atom thick, the film is a more ecological choice. Additionally, because carbon can be sourced more easily than the lithium found in conventional batteries, it could end up being fairly economical as time goes on and production becomes more widespread.
Why is it, all the other countries get to have the important "break-throughs" that will help to mitigate Climate Change ...
While all we get to do is "break" the bank?
(Maybe someone should ask the “stable genius” that the next time, he peels himself away from his “Executive Time” Tweet-machine.)
“Hey Trump, speaking of America being Number One, how much are we investing in Graphene research?” is a pointed question, no reporter will dare to ask anytime soon.
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