Researchers from Seoul National University developed a one-step method to prepare a carbon material (which they call NCF) from used cigarette filters. They used the NCF to create supercapacitor electrodes - which exhibit a better rate capability and higher specific capacitance compared to conventional activated carbon. The capacitance is actually higher than N-doped graphene or N-doped CNT electrodes.
NCF is a nitrogen doped (N-doped) meso-/microporous hybrid carbon material. It is prepared via heating the filters in a nitrogen-containing atmosphere. The filters are made from mostly cellulose acetate fibers, which transform to mesopores and micropores which self-assemble into a unique pore structure.
Researchers from Rice University developed a new chemical process that is used to create a tough, ultra-light foam in any size and shape. The new foam (called GO-0.5BN) is made from two 2D materials: graphene oxide and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) platelets.
This foam can be used as structural component in applications such as electrodes for supercapacitors and batteries and gas absorption material.
In 2013, researchers from the University of Alberta developed a new low-cost process to turn hemp bast fibers into graphene-like materials. Now the same team reports that those hemp fibers may be as efficient as graphene for supercapacitor electrodes, or even better. Those electrodes are made from bio waste in a simple process, and are much cheaper than graphene based electrodes.
Those fibers come from the inner bark of the hemp plant, which are often discarded. Hemp is a used in Canada to make clothing, construction materials and other products. The researchers explain that to create those fibers, they first had to really understand the structure of the plant and then tune their process which involved heating it for 24 hours at a 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and then blasting it with more intense heat, after which it exfoliates into carbon nanosheets.
Researchers from the UCLA developed a new graphene-based material that can significantly enhance the energy density of supercapacitors - in fact making them as good as lead acid batteries.
They call the new material holey graphene framework. It is a 3D material that has tiny holes in it. The holey graphene features superior electrical conductivity, exceptional mechanical flexibility and unique hierarchical porosity. This enabled the researchers to create a capacitor that has an unparalleled energy densities of 35 watt hours per kilogram (49 watt hours per liter), which is up to 10 times higher than current commercial supercapacitors.
In December 2013, Graphene Nanochem, in cooperation with the National Innovation Agency of Malaysia agreed to launch Malaysia's national graphene hub, with hopes that Malaysia will turn into a global graphene innovation hub. Now the Malaysian government has launched the National Graphene Action Plan (NGAP) 2020, a "strategic and calculated venture on graphene".
The NGAP 2020 outlined five potential industries that could best benefit from graphene — rubber additives, Li-ion battery anode/ultra-capacitors, conductive inks, nanofluids and plastic additives. The government says that according to their studies, by 2020 Malaysia could capture a $20 million nanofluids market, a $90 million plastic market and a $4.4 billion rubber market.
The EU-supported ElectroGraph project succeeded in developing graphene-based supercapacitor electrodes. Graphene enhances the surface area of the electrode, which makes it a great replacement for activated carbon (the currently used material). To demonstrate this, the consortium developed a car side-mirror that uses the graphene-enhanced supercapacitor charged by a solar panel:
The ElectroGraph electrodes surpassed commercially available ones by 75% in terms of storage capacity. ElectroGraph was coordinated by the Fraunhofer IPA Institute, and it mostly looks into supercapacitor applications for the automotive industry.
The University of Surrey in the UK is establishing a graphene center, within its Advanced Technology Institute (ATI). The Institute will extend its research into the uses and manufacture of graphene across such applications as high frequency electronics, flexible and transparent electronics, smart coatings and interconnect technology. The university is also interested in using graphene in solar cells, supercacitors, printed transistors and OLED displays.
The ATI developed Photo Thermal deposition technology that can deposit electronic grade graphene on wafer scale substrates. The tool performs catalyst deposition and graphene growth, allowing high volume production. The graphene center received more than £1.2 million (over $2 million) from the EPSRC, NPL and a range of industrial companies. Academic partners in the new center include the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Manchester, Imperial, Exeter, Trinity College Dublin and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.