Scientists from Rice University have managed to embed metallic nanoparticles into their previously-developed LIG (laser-induced graphene, a flexible film with a surface of porous graphene made by exposing a common plastic to a commercial laser-scribing beam), that turn the material into a catalyst for fuel cells and various other applications.
The researchers have now found a way to enhance the product with reactive metals and turn it into "metal oxide-laser induced graphene" (MO-LIG), a new candidate to replace expensive metals like platinum in catalytic fuel-cell applications in which oxygen and hydrogen are converted to water and electricity. The scientists state that a major advantage of this process is that commercial polymers can be used, with the addition of inexpensive metal salts. They are then subjected to the laser scriber, which generates metal nanoparticles embedded in graphene. In effect, the laser generates graphene in the open air at room temperature.
Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, funded by £500,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, are striving to use graphene inks to print intricate 3D structures, in hopes to increase the charge storage of batteries and supercapacitors that they create.
The scientists are involved in a project, meant to run about three and a half years, to create graphene-based energy storage systems. They are trying to achieve a conductive ink that blends the extraordinary properties of graphene with the ease of use of 3D printing to be manipulated into a structure that’s beneficial for batteries and supercapacitors.
Skeleton Technologies, the manufacturer of graphene-based supercapacitors, has entered the commercial truck fleet market. The company recently launched a graphene-based device that helps truck drivers start their engines after long periods of inactivity or in cold weather.
Launched under brand name SkelStart ESM, the device delivers a powerful surge of energy to a truck’s engine to make sure it will start even after long periods of inactivity or in cold weather. The firm explained that it also eliminates the need for drivers to leave their trucks idling.
Ionic Industries, a spin-off of minerals explorer Strategic Energy Resources, cooperated with Monash University to develop extremely thin graphene-based supercapacitors, able to store large amounts of energy. According to Ionic, the first battery prototype should be available within six months and more sophisticated prototypes in three to five years.
The supercapacitors are tiny - smaller than the diameter of human hair, actually. They were created following two years of rigorous experiments, using an ion beam to etch the supercapacitors on to wafers made of graphene. They are said to be able to be fully recharged in minutes and last longer than present battery technologies.
A recent IDTechEx research predicts that the graphene market will reach nearly $200 million by 2026, with the estimation that the largest sectors will be composites, energy applications and graphene coatings.
Graphene inks are said to be constantly improving (while their prices seem to be dropping), which might promote, among others, applications like sensor electrodes and smart packaging. In the transparent conductive film industry, however, it is estimated that graphene will not be able to compete with ITO films.
An international team of researchers from the Center for Integrated Nanostructure Physics at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) and Department of Energy Science at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, has devised a new technique for creating a graphene-based MSC (solid-state micro-supercapacitor) that is said to deliver improved electrochemical performance, with a design based on the intricate design of leaves.
The team designed their MSC film structure in compliance with vein-textured leaves in order to take advantage of the natural transport pathways which enable efficient ion diffusion parallel to the graphene planes found within them. To create this efficient shape, the team layered a graphene-hybrid film with copper hydroxide nanowires. After many alternating layers they achieved the desired thickness, and added an acid solution to dissolve the nanowires so that a thin film with nano-impressions was all that remained.
Skeleton Technologies announced the launch of a new range of supercapacitors that are said to offer the highest level of energy density on the market. Through the use of patented graphene material, the new series boasts a capacitance of 4500 farads. The company claims that the closest competitor product has a capacitance of only 3400 farads.
Skeleton Technologies plans to use the SkelCap 4500 series to maximize opportunities in the heavy transportation and industrial markets where weight and space are at a premium. The new range has been designed for mass-market applications and the needs of systems engineers. The format has been developed to meet the industry standard of a 60 mm diameter cylindrical cell. Skeleton Technologies had previously offered prismatic cells, which are more compact in modular arrangements but more expensive to produce. Skeleton Technologies also claims to have achieved one of the lowest ESR (equivalent series resistance) levels on the market at 0.095 mΩ. This factor is crucial as it greatly increases the efficiency of the cells by reducing the amount of energy that is lost as heat.