Britta Andres has been awarded the Alf de Ruvo scholarship of 250 000 SEK for her work on low-cost environmentally friendly electric double-layer capacitors at Mid Sweden University’s research centre FSCN.
Supercapacitors are energy storage devices that can complement or partially replace batteries. By using the materials, production techniques and concept improvements proposed in the thesis, it is possible to lower the cost of supercapacitors by more than 90 percent compared with commercial supercapacitors. The research is interesting for the automotive industry, now when the demand for electric cars increases. Today, electric cars are expensive and the big batteries are heavy investment costs.
The research shows that paper-based supercapacitors are a very promising alternative on the energy market. There is a change from fossil energy sources to renewable sources in our society, but it requires environmentally friendly and cost-effective batteries and supercapacitors. Today's batteries and supercapacitors often contain expensive, rare or toxic materials.
"Our paper-based supercapacitors meet the requirements for environmentally friendly storage devices for electrical energy and they also have high power density. If our products can be further developed and produced in larger scale, they have great potential to support the transition to environmentally sustainable supercapacitors and other green energy technologies, " says Britta Andres.
To meet the high environmental standards, only paper, graphite and saltwater are used. Paper is used as a separator between the electrodes as well as a substrate for the electrode coating. Graphite is used as active electrode material and saltwater acts as electrolyte.
"We have also found a unique method and use micro- and nanocellulose from wood fibres as binders. Cellulose increases the dispersion stability and improves the mechanical stability and electrical properties of the electrodes. Microfibrillated cellulose provides the best properties for supercapacitors, says Britta Andres.
Britta has a multidisciplinary background in Material Science, Chemistry and Physics. In 2010 she received a Bachelor of Science in Bio- and Nanotechnology from South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences in Iserlohn, Germany. Subsequently she started studying within the program of Master by Research in Pulp and Paper Technology at Mid Sweden University. In 2012 she finished her postgraduate studies and received a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering. Afterwards she started her research studies in Engineering Physics and defended her Licentiate Thesis with the title "Paper-based Supercapacitors" in 2014. In 2017 she defended her PhD Thesis with the title "Low-Cost, Environmentally Friendly Electric-Double Layer Capacitors".
The official motivation for the Alf de Ruvo Scholarship
Framställning av användbara material från skogen har länge spelat en huvudroll i svensk ekonomi. Med hotet från ett förändrat klimat, krävs det nya biobaserade material som kan frigöra oss från beroendet av fossila råvaror. Här har Sverige en unik möjlighet att ligga i framkant och låta trädets beståndsdelar vara byggstenar i processer för tillverkning av de mest avancerade materialen i framtiden.
Dr. Britta Andres tilldelas Alf de Ruvo-stipendiet för sina studier om pappersbaserade miljövänliga superkondensatorer. Dessa energilagringsenheter är ett kostnadseffektiv och hållbart alternativ till dagens dyra och giftiga superkondensatorer och batterier. Britta har utvecklat unika metoder och kompositmaterial med mikro- och nanocellulosa för att öka prestandan och sänka kostnaderna för superkondensatorer.
The Scholarship was presented in Ekmandagarna in Stockholm 30-31 January 2018. Congratulations Britta!