A paper-like material capable of storing energy as efficiently as supercapacitors has been developed by Swedish researchers.
The nanocellulose-based material, described as a dream product for storing energy, can be recharged hundreds of times and each charge only takes a few seconds.
One sheet, some 15cm in diameter and only a few tenths of a millimetre thick, can store as much energy as the best supercapacitors currently in the market.
”Thin films that function as capacitors have existed for some time,” said Xavier Crispin, professor of organic electronics from the Linköping University and co-author of the article published in Advanced Science.
“What we have done is to produce the material in three dimensions. We can produce thick sheets.”
In addition to nanocellulose, the material also contains a conductive polymer, which gives it a somewhat plastic appearance.
The researchers even created an energy-storing origami swan using one sheet of the power paper to demonstrate its exceptional strength.
In tests, the material set a new world record in simultaneous conductivity for ions and electrons.
The nanocellulose used to make the power paper can be created by breaking down regular cellulose fibres with a high-pressure stream of water. Each resulting nanofibre is only about 20nm thick. An electrically charged polymer is subsequently added into the water-nanocellulose mix that creates a thin coating around the fibres.
The researchers said the material could be used to provide much higher capacity storage, as it is manufactured from simple, safe and environmentally friendly materials.
The team, which involves scientists from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Innventia, Technical University of Denmark and the University of Kentucky, hopes to develop an industrial-scale process for manufacturing the power paper.