2017-11-06
IISER team makes supercapacitors of graphene to replace car batteries

A team of scientists from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune has developed a graphene-based supercapacitor that has a better capacity and power and offers a stable, non-toxic alternative for batteries.

The researchers, who believe the supercapacitor will have multiple uses, have applied for a patent. Electric vehicles have been long thought of as the future of the automobile industry. With coal, oil depleting, the race to find alternative energy sources is fast-paced. The car's battery is vital but due to the toxic lead used, efforts are on to replace batteries with supercapacitors.

Leading a team of 10 students of graduates, post-graduates and PhD students and post-docs Nirmalya Bhallav has been working on the graphene-based supercapacitor, a device that stores and delivers energy, for the past two years.

"Graphene was recently developed and the material is fascinating. Its interesting properties need to be explored. So we decided to use it to make supercapacitors," Ballav said.

Once the right technique was devised, the researchers tested it for stability. "If other capacitors work for a few thousand cycles, this works for one lakh cycles. Moreover, the power given off while discharging is more and stable. Lastly, it takes less space to store more power. The material isn't toxic and is extremely light weight and cost effective. Hence, this supercapacitator beats almost all others in performance," Ballav added. 

A paper titled "High level supercapacitive performance of chemically reduced graphene oxide" written by Pawan Kumar Jha, Santosh Kumar Singh, Vikash Kumar, Shammi Rana, Sreekumar Kurungot, and Nirmalya Ballav was published in the journal Chem (Cell Press). "Reduced graphene oxide (rGO), the material developed by us, has a high charge-discharge cycling stability. It can last longer without getting degraded in the process of storing and delivering energy. Further, the flexible nature of this material allows it to be either drawn into thin sheets or molded into solid bars or pellets," Ballav, who is hopeful about a patent, said.

"The future of almost every industry is to become as less dependent on non-renewable sources of energy as possible. At a conference, SPEL Technologies' representatives came to know about my research. They are working on a model to replace the battery from cars and make it efficient to run. Now, they are trying our supercapacitor for it," he added.

Source- The Times of India