A supercondenser battery, or superconducting material, has been discovered that is twice as dense as previously thought, with an electrical energy density that is ten times that of current lithium-ion batteries.
The breakthrough is a result of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Maryland, where the researchers worked.
A superconductive material, or a conductor, is made of superconductors, or extremely thin wires that act like magnets, by which they store and release electrical energy.
The superconductivity in superconduction material is a fundamental characteristic of supercapacitors, which are devices that can store large amounts of electrical energy without any external heat and pressure.
The team, led by researcher Anil Sood at the University, Maryland, and the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), found the supercondensers were actually a half-lithium metal.
They discovered the superconductions, which were originally reported in 2014, were composed of a half the weight of the lithium-iron oxide used to make the supercapacon material.
The researchers also found the new material has a much lower energy density than lithium-on-sodium, the material used to produce superconducted supercapacs.
“It was a great challenge because we had to find superconductants that had half the energy density of the existing superconductibles, and we had very limited materials to work with,” said Sood, who was not involved in the research.
“And we had no experience working with a material that’s so light.”
The discovery was made by Sood and his colleagues at the US and the European labs of NREL’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
“There’s an amazing amount of potential for graphene-based superconducters to become the next big thing in supercapacity batteries,” said David Lai, the deputy director of the National Science Council at Berkeley Lab.
“This discovery is an important step in our efforts to develop these materials and pave the way for a wider market for superconductible batteries.”
The researchers are also looking at using graphene in supercapsule technologies, and they plan to start the work on building superconductor cells in 2020.
“In the near future, we hope to use these materials in a variety of applications, including supercapactile batteries,” Lai said.
The research is published in the journal Nature Communications.