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  • Writer's pictureMaher El-Kady

Engineering: Superlative Supercapacitors - A Moonshot Idea

Batteries have a bad reputation. They're made of toxic materials and charge very slowly. Richard Kaner talks about his solution in The Super Supercapacitor, a SolveForX talk created as part of the GE Focus Forward series.In general batteries have high energy storage but take a long time to charge and discharge. A capacitor can charge and discharge quickly but have very low energy storage capabilities. Kaner is expecting his new graphene supercapacitors to store high amounts of energy and charge at least one hundred times faster than a battery.📷 was researching graphene in his lab. Graphene is a strong flexible carbon-based material but production methods were not efficient. Kaner and his research assistant Maher El-Kady developed a new process using sheets of plastic and curing through dvds and a personal computer disc drive. Serendipity came when Maher found that graphene could act as a supercapacitor. With a specimen of graphene and two leads he charged a light in a few seconds and kept the light running for five minutes.The possibilities here are wide open. Immediately charging our electronic devices will bring convenience to most of us, but further down the line energy storage and transmission could be changed to meet future energy needs. Charging an electric vehicle could take minutes, and when exhausted graphene can be recycled back into its carbon components much easier than battery materials.📷

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