Supercapacitors, which feature long cycle life and high power density, are a common topic here at Charged – many foresee them working together with batteries. However, researchers from Augmented Optics in collaboration with the University of Surrey and the University of Bristol, have developed new electrolytes that they believe could be used to create supercapacitors with energy storage capacities equal to or greater than those of existing battery systems.
The new, crosslinked gel-matrix polymer electrolytes have exhibited capacitance values more than 100 times those of conventional electrolytes, and are compatible with all normal production electrodes. Augmented Optics has formed a subsidiary, SuperCapacitor Materials, to commercialize the materials.
Two recent papers shed some light on the new technology: “All solid state flexible supercapacitors operating at 4 V with a cross-linked polymer–ionic liquid electrolyte,” published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A; and “Current trends in redox polymers for energy and medicine,” published in Progress in Polymer Science.
The Augmented Optics technology was adapted from principles used to make soft contact lenses, which Dr. Donald Highgate (of Augmented Optics, and an alumnus of the University of Surrey) developed 40 years ago.
“The test results from the new polymers suggest that extremely high energy density supercapacitors could be constructed in the very near future,” said Jim Heathcote, CEO of Augmented Optics and Supercapacitor Materials. “We are now actively seeking commercial partners in order to supply our polymers and offer assistance to build these ultra high energy density storage devices.”