Supercapacitor alternative to battery power

5th Mar 2018

Researchers at the universities of Surrey and Bristol say they have proved that polymer materials have better storage properties than the lithium ion batteries currently on the market and could be used to help power electric vehicles.

The director for research at Superdielectrics Ltd, Dr Donald Highgate, believes that materials originally used for soft contact lenses could potentially have greater storage potential.

Developers hope that the supercapacitors can lessen the strain on the grid and become an integral element in the charging of electric vehicles. Current leading battery-powered cars estimate range at between 200 and 350 miles, and it is claimed that supercapacitors could vastly surpass this, despite decades of limited progress.

Early adopters are expected to use a conventional battery in tandem with the supercapacitor, as leaving the vehicle for long periods of time would result in a loss of charge.

In China, supercapacitors are used to power electric buses, but still require frequent charge despite their ability to store and release quickly.

For the technology to be effectively used in the UK it will need to be proven on cost, scalability and sustainability, say experts. If it does, prototype production could begin in under two years in sectors such as the military.

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