“Graphene Supercapacitors: What’s Your Future?”.

UPM publication 04-19-2021. ISOM-UPM researchers have analyzed the role that graphene will play in the development of more efficient supercapacitors and batteries with better results in terms of reproducibility, complexity, time consumption, cost and versatility. Its applications will extend from energy to fields such as biomedicine or agriculture.

We live in an energy dependent society. That our current way of life makes us demand more and more energy is a fact. If we look around us, we find mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, … The number of electronic devices has increased exponentially and each of them needs an energy source: first it was batteries and everything indicates that in the coming years supercapacitors will be able to compete against these. Graphene, one of the “new materials” that has gained more prominence in recent years, will have a lot to do with it, as reflected in a study carried out by a team of ISOM researchers at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM).

“A supercapacitor is a device for storing energy by physical means that allows charging and discharging in a few seconds. Since Stoller described the first graphene supercapacitor in 2008, spectacular advances have been made, and ever greater energy and power density has been achieved ”, explains Javier Martínez Rodrigo, from the ISOM-UPM Semiconductor Devices Group and one of the participants In this work you have analyzed the most promising graphene supercapacitors from the large scale to the microscale and the possibilities they offer.

To do this, the researchers conducted a double-scale study. On the one hand, they described the manufacturing techniques with the best results in terms of their reproducibility, complexity, time consumption, cost and versatility. On the other, the advantages of miniaturizing them in the form of micro-supercapacitors were presented, so that they can be integrated into small portable devices.

As a result of that analysis, the researchers found several advantages that can be highlighted from using graphene to make microcapacitors.

Applications in energy, but also the environment and even biomedicine

“Graphene allows us to manufacture supercapacitors with better characteristics (specific capacity, energy density, power), which allow us to predict that they will soon become part of our electronic devices,” add researchers Andrés Velasco and Yu Kyoung Ryu. “It will be able to replace other more expensive, more polluting and less efficient commercial components, or be used as a complement to other energy storage devices, such as lithium batteries, in electric vehicles”, adds Professor Fernando Calle.

In addition, its advantages will not remain in the environmental or energy level, but will also be extended to fields such as agriculture or biomedicine, since graphene supercapacitors may be part of miniaturized self-powered devices by being integrated with sensors of different types in portable / wearable electronics and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The work developed by UPM researchers, and in which CIEMAT also collaborates under the project (ENE2017-88065-C2-1-R) (MINECO / AEI / FEDER, EU), has recently been published in the international journal Sustainable Energy & Fuels, as its cover.

Reference Andrés Velasco, Yu Kyoung Ryu, Alberto Boscá, Antonio Ladrón-de-Guevara, Elijah Hunt, Jinghan Zuo, Jorge Pedrós, Fernando Calle and Javier Martinez. ‘Recent Trends in Graphene Supercapacitors: from Large Area to Microsupercapacitors’. Sustainable Energy & Fuels (2021), DOI: 10.1039 / D0SE01849J.