A new type of supercapacitor has been developed that is much more efficient than conventional batteries.

A breakthrough in supercapacitor technology could prove revolutionary for electric vehicles, enabling recharging in only a couple of minutes.

UK-based technology firm Augmented Optics, together with researchers from the University of Surrey and the University of Bristol, have developed a new type of material that can store more electricity and recharge more quickly than current supercapacitors.

A conventional supercapacitor consists of two electrodes in an electrolyte. They hold lots of energy, discharge and recharge quickly, and can stand up to many more charging cycles than a rechargeable battery. But they have low energy density, so it becomes too heavy for use in certain applications, like cars.

The new material is a type of polymer. According to University of Bristol researcher Dr. Ian Hamerton, the material is “based on large organic molecules, composed of many repeated sub-units and bonded together to form a three-dimensional network.”

While automotive applications were not originally included in the research, the team soon realized the advantages. While range does not necessarily increase, charging times are reduced down to two or three minutes - the time it takes to fill up a gas tank.

The material can be moulded, as well, removing the design limitations current battery technology imposes on electric cars. And it is considerably lighter.

Auto Express reports that the team hopes to build a prototype electric car that can be charged up to a 150 mile range in just a few seconds.

“If they [the material] are half as good as we think they are, and with more experience, they may take over entirely,” said Augmented Optics technical director, Dr. Donald Highgate. “Disruptive, yes - it would be a terrible shock to car manufacturers - but cars could be built on the same factory lines.”

Source: Auto Express


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