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Super capacitor breakthrough to boost power of electric cars

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article image Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have developed lightweight supercapacitors that can dramatically boost the power of electric cars.

Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have developed lightweight supercapacitors that can dramatically boost the power of electric cars.

The supercapacitors, which are a sandwich of electrolyte between two all-carbon electrodes, were made into a thin and extremely strong film with a high power capacity. This film could be embedded in a course body panels, roof, doors, bonnet and floor, giving it enough area to store energy that can turbocharge an electric cars battery just a few minutes.

According to the researchers, a car which is partly powered by all body panels could be a reality within five years.

Supercapacitors can store a limited amount charge, but can deliver that energy very quickly, allowing them to be used in conjunction with mass storage batteries to provide an extra energy spurt for acceleration.

Current generation of electrical cars use supercapacitors combined with standard lithium ion batteries to reduce weight and increase performance. The researchers hope this breakthrough will allow them to develop a super capacitor which can store more energy than a lithium I am battery, while retaining the ability to release its energy up to 10 times faster.

This will allow a car to be entirely powered by the supercapacitors in its body panels. With one full charge of the supercapacitors, this car would run up to 500 km, similar to a petrol powered car and more than double the current limit of an electric car.

This super capacitor technology could also be used to improve the charge of other battery-powered devices – for example, by putting film supercapacitor on the back of the smart phone, it will be possible to charge it extremely quickly.

The researchers say they are using cheap carbon materials to make the supercapacitors, and the price of industrial scale production will be low. This is in contrast to lithium ion batteries, which remain costly because the price of lithium remains high.

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