Research on supercapacitors and new technology for future batteries

There is a great demand for energy and cost-effective batteries that are environmentally sustainable. At Mid Sweden University, processes are being developed for large-scale production of graphene and graphene composites, where the goal is to significantly reduce the cost of energy storage and make it more environmentally friendly.

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"The automotive industry needs to reduce the cost of producing electric cars in order to contribute to a fossil-free society. For electricity production from weather-dependent energy sources, such as solar and wind power, we need to create efficient storage conditions. This requires us to develop sustainable and cost-effective energy materials and simplified manufacturing methods, ”says Nicklas Blomquist, prospective doctor in engineerings physics at Mid Sweden University.

There is a lot of research in the field of battery technology in order to secure our energy needs in the future, and the need for fast energy storage as supercapacitors therefore grows rapidly. Supercapacitors can be used in everything from home electronics to electric vehicles and power supply applications and can complement batteries. The disadvantage is that they are expensive, which hinders large-scale commercialization.

"One solution is to develop a process for the production of graphene and nanography with high electrical conductivity. In our lab, we have developed a process for large-scale production of graphene which is scalable and cost-effective without the addition of toxic chemicals or organic solvents. The main raw materials are graphite and water, says Nicklas Blomquist.

The researchers blend in bio-based adhesives such as cellulose, microcellulose or nanocellulose to create robust, high surface area electrodes and high electrical conductivity that are well suited for energy storage in both supercapacitors and batteries.

"We have also made demo studies of large-scale coating of these electrodes, both on paper and electrically conductive paper-based substrates. There are good prospects for creating future electric energy storage facilities with high environmental performance and low production costs. If we succeed with this, lots of possible applications await our future energy needs, says Nicklas Blomquist.

The research will now be deepened within the recently decided research project DRIVE, which is run by Mid Sweden University and financed with support from the EU's regional development fund, Sundsvall municipality, Timrå municipality, Härnösand municipality, Swedish Energy Agency and Region Västernorrland. The project includes some 30 business partners such as energy companies and real estate companies.

Nicklas Blomquist presents his doctoral thesis on May 10 at Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall.

Contact:

Nicklas Blomquist, prospective doctor in engineerings physics, FSCN research centre, Mid Sweden University, nicklas.blomquist@miun.se, +46 10 422 86 86