Innovation That Matters

Aqueous battery | Photo source Fancycrave on Unsplash

Graphene used in new fast-charging aqueous battery


High power aqueous energy storing device can be charged in less than 30 seconds from a low power source such as USB or photovoltaic cell.

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed an eco-friendly energy storage device. Using aqueous electrolytes makes the device far safer than traditional, flammable, lithium ion batteries, and the length of its charge makes it particularly efficient. Considered a hybrid material, the new device is capable of reaching full charge in 20 to 30 seconds.

The team (from the Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Water, and Sustainability) behind the development used a combination of polymer chain anodes and sub-nanoscale metal oxide cathodes. The cathodes reside on graphene, which allows for a more rapid exchange, and higher density, of energy between the two materials as well as keeping energy loss to a minimum. Previous versions of aqueous energy storing devices were unable to maintain a charge at a high enough level for a long enough period of time. The new device is especially useful because of its ability to rapidly reach full capacity using only a very low power energy source, such as USB or photovoltaic cell.

The potential for future widespread use of the device is exceptionally high. Researchers point to the ease and relatively low costs of manufacturing as of particular relevance for use in portable electronic devices.

Graphene, with its strength (200 times stronger than steel), weight (thinnest material currently available), flexibility and conductivity is so far proving to be a wonder material, with a huge variety of applications. Uses have so far included a range of industries from fashion to renewable energy. A dress constructed from graphene includes LED lights that change color according to the wearer’s breathing. In the renewable energy industry, scientists have developed graphene-coated solar cells that produce electricity from rain. How else might nano-sized applications of graphene help improve a product’s sustainability?



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