New ‘designer carbon’ enhances battery performance

New York: Scientists at the Stanford University have created a new carbon material that significantly boosts the performance of energy-storage technologies.

“We have developed a ‘designer carbon’ that is both versatile and controllable,” said senior study author Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at the Stanford.

According to Bao, the new designer carbon represents a dramatic improvement over conventional activated carbon, an inexpensive material widely used in products ranging from water filters and air deodorisers to energy-storage devices.

To see how the new material performed in real-world conditions, the Stanford team fabricated carbon-coated electrodes and installed them in lithium-sulphur batteries and supercapacitors.

In the experiment, a current was applied to supercapacitors equipped with designer-carbon electrodes.

The results were dramatic. Electrical conductivity improved threefold compared to supercapacitor electrodes made of conventional activated carbon.

“We also found that our designer carbon improved the rate of power delivery and the stability of the electrodes,” Bao added.

“Our designer carbon is simple to make, relatively cheap and meets all of the critical requirements for high-performance electrodes,” the researchers said.

The study was published in the journal ACS Central Science.