Will Graphene Supercapacitors Replace Electric Car Batteries in the Near Future?

You’ve probably heard all about the way that electric cars will soon be a common occurrence on our roads, and about how excellent this will be for the environment. Fossil fuels are not going to last forever, so surely the electric alternative is a no-brainer. But the issue with this type of energy source lies within the actual range that electric cars are capable of. Conventional batteries just can’t cope with the huge power supply required to drive the electric engine. However, scientists are confident that they have a very realistic solution to this perplexing dilemma – Graphene. This article discusses the way that the new wonder material can step into the breach and hopefully offer the solution that scientists and environmentalist are looking for

Graphene for Beginners

The chances are that you probably are aware of Graphene and why everyone seems to think that it will change the world. But just in case, here are a few factoids for you:

  • It is incredibly strong
  • It is super thin
  • It is unbelievably versatile

But despite these 3 very cool features, the fact remains that Graphene production is still proving very elusive for the time being. Mass production is the issue and despite the myriad of market leaders striving to perfect this technique, it is still some way off yet.

Electric Cars 101

electric car being charged

Okay, let’s discuss another modern marvel that also has an Achilles Heel – The electric car. The word on the street is that pretty soon we will be inundated with an extensive choice of these eco-wagons, whether we like it or not. But the problem with powering these rather clever vehicles is that we still do not have a battery that is capable of providing enough power for a long drive. Using an electric car around town is less troublesome, but the battery still requires a recharging period of several hours each time that it runs low. So the idea of finding a new power source to substantially increase the range of electric cars is something that really excites scientists and the public alike.

Supercapacitors

Scientists have worked with supercapacitors as a possible power source for electric vehicles and they seem to offer a partial solution. These little power plants are able to charge and discharge quickly enough to suit the electric car engine requirements. However, in their present state they cannot hold sufficient charge volume to actually power the electric engine.

Enter Graphene

Surprise, surprise, it looks like there are no limits to what Graphene is actually capable of, and this includes a very smart solution to our electric car power source issue. The Graphene supercapacitor is also able to charge extremely quickly and discharge just as fast as the prototype versions currently being tested. But the Graphene model is believed to also have the storage capacity required for powering an electric vehicle. Santhakumar Kannapan is based at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in Korea and he is confident that the Graphene supercapacitor is the answer to the electric car engine’s problems. He has helped to develop a highly porous form of Graphene that has a massive internal surface area. In fact, a single gram of this material has an internal area the size of a basketball court.

Quick Charge Plus Capacity

Mr Kannapan and his team have run tests on these Graphene super capacitors and claim that they are comparable to the lithium-ion versions with regards to the ideal charge and discharge baselines plus the added feature regarding the immense storage capacity. The tests actually reveal that a Graphene supercapacitor is capable of fully charging in about 16 seconds and repeating this action over 10,000 times without any performance deficiency issues.

Graphene for Prime Minister?

If it proves possible to actually make the transition from prototype to production, this will surely be the start of the predicted world domination by Graphene. Now if only they could find a way to mass produce the miracle material, we would be even happier.