Working closely with the University of Manchester, First Graphene Ltd. has developed high performing materials for the manufacture of Game Changing Supercapacitors.
First Graphene were quick to recognise the potential of the technology for the manufacture of high-performing supercapacitor devices. The company also realised that the materials could be manufactured using their existing graphene manufacturing capabilities and a worldwide, exclusive licence agreement was signed in September 2019.
The need for a Game Changing Supercapacitors has been confirmed by end-users in the aerospace, marine engineering, electric vehicle and utility storage sectors. The company continues to receive regular enquiries from end-users in these sectors.
The materials were first isolated in the research teams of Professor Robert Dryfe and Professor Ian Kinloch at the University of Manchester.
Prof. Robert Dryfe comments "Our research has developed a route to produce state-of-the-art materials, combining the attractive properties of graphene materials and metal oxides. The initial work showed that these materials could have significant applications in energy storage”.
Our global appetite for energy continues to grow at an alarming rate, driven by population growth, increasing urbanisation and improving standards of living.
At the same time, the environmental imperative to reduce the carbon emissions associated with energy consumption is driving changes in the way we make, distribute and use energy. Traditional carbon dioxide (CO2)-generating energy sources are being replaced by cleaner, renewable sources. For these greener energy sources to be effective, a new generation of energy storage and distribution is required.
Chemical batteries such as lithium ion have achieved widespread adoption for energy storage across industry sectors, such as mobile devices and electric vehicles as they offer high power-density, mobility and multiple charges. Even lithium ion batteries have not reached full adoption in high-volume industries where high cost, high weight, range anxiety and long charging times are concerns.
Supercapacitors are being evaluated as an alternative and complementary energy storage device that offer high power-density and short charging times. They are already used in laptops, actuators and some electric vehicles. When combined with lithium-ion batteries the supercapacitor enables higher power charging and discharging and the use of a lighter, lower cost Li-ion battery.
It is clear that industry needs Game Changing Supercapacitor storage devices with high energy density and high-power density. The devices must have rapid and safe charging through multiple cycles.
The new supercapacitor materials were first isolated at the university by Professor Robert Dryfe and Professor Ian Kinloch. By extending their work on the electrochemical manufacture of graphene materials they were able to synthesise graphene materials decorated with metal oxide nanostructures that show great promise for high performing supercapacitor devices, materials with very high capacitance of up to 500 Farads/gram were isolated which outperform existing materials.
First Graphene Ltd. is a Tier 1 partner in the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre at the University of Manchester and have an excellent working relationship with the academic groups at the University.
Andy Goodwin, Chief Technology Officer of First Graphene Ltd., remembers “In a presentation by Professor Kinloch our attention was drawn to these high value hybrid-graphene materials and it was clear that the materials could be manufactured by a process that we already operated at tonnage scale. We started licence negotiations immediately.”
Since the licence agreement was concluded the technology has benefitted from UK government support through an EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Council) project to transfer the technology from the University laboratories to First Graphene laboratories. This project has been very successful and has demonstrated that the metal oxide decorated graphenes can be rapidly scaled to multi-kilogrammanufacture. The project will conclude in the next few months when further results will be published.
Professor Robert Dryfe adds “The collaboration with First Graphene has been excellent: both in terms of their know-how on scale-up of production, and their commercial insight".