Researchers create batteries out of ink and paper

Paper could be the new low-cost, high-performance energy storage device of the future thanks to a new type of battery comprising of carbon nanutube ink, paper and silver nanowires - leading to many applications ranging from consumer to energy stored on the power grid.

According to Yi Cui, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University - where the battery was created - the device could last through 40,000 charge-discharge cycles – an order of magnitude greater than current lithium battery technology.

“This technology has potential to be commercialised within a short time,” claimed Peidong Yang, professor of chemistry at the University of California-Berkely.

The research, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences also asserts that nanomaterials make ideal conductors because they move electricity much more efficiently than ordinary conductors, Cui said.

“If I want to paint my wall with a conducting energy storage device, I can use a brush,” said Cui.

The supercapacitor abilities of the device may prove useful for applications like electric or hybrid cars, which depend on the quick transfer of electricity. The paper supercapacitor’s high surface-to-volume ratio gives it an advantage.

Cui also predicts the biggest impact may be in large-scale storage of electricity on the distribution grid. Excess electricity generated at night, for example, could be saved for peak-use periods during the day. Wind farms and solar energy systems also may require storage.

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