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DIAMONDS VS. COAL: DISCOVERY COULD HELP FINE-TUNE CARBON MICROSTRUCTURE

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, July 2, 2020
Superheroes squeeze a lump of coal and turn it into a sparkling diamond – in comic books, anyway. There is some scientific validity to this fictional feat. Coal and diamonds are both composed of carbon. The two materials differ in their microscopic arrangement of atoms, and that leads to quite a difference in appearance, conductivity, hardness and other properties.

As this shows, the microstructure of carbon-based materials is important. Optimizing carbon microstructure could benefit applications in energy storage, sensors and next generation nuclear material systems.

Now a group of researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) have conducted a study that could lead to improved methods to fine-tune the carbon microstructure. The scientists reported on their work in a June 2020 Materials Today Chemistry paper.

CREATING CRYSTALLINE STRUCTURE
Kunal Mondal, an INL materials science researcher, conducted the group’s experiments, which involved subjecting tiny carbon films and fibers to temperatures as high as 3000o C (5400o F). That heat caused the microstructure in the films and fibers to become less disordered (or amorphous) and more diamondlike (or crystalline).

“When carbon structure gets more crystalline, it makes many things possible. First, conductivity of the carbon increases. That means you can get a lot of good applications out of it,” said Mondal, the paper’s lead author. Some of these applications include batteries and sensors, he added.

A goal of the research was to see how the final microstructure varied depending on the temperature and the starting material.

For the initial material, the researchers spun out miniature carbon fibers and coated substrates with thin carbon films. They heat treated these polymer precursors at temperatures ranging from 1000 to 3000o C. They then examined the results with transmission electron microscopes and other instruments, determining the degree of conversion from a loosely organized polymer to a more structured, crystalline arrangement.

SHORTCUTS IN MICROSTRUCTURE ROADMAP
Heat treatments are used worldwide to create carbon composite materials with the desired microstructure, which varies by application. The precursors that researchers selected are also widely used. Yet commercial production with these precursors and manufacturing methods can be an intricate process that requires a series of precise heat treatments and other actions.

The final recipe for a product may be reached by trial and error, which can sometimes be extensive. The INL research aims, among other things, to provide a road map with shortcuts to speed up this search.

So, in addition to experimental work, the INL group also did simulations that modeled how the fibers and films would evolve during heat treatment. Gorakh Pawar, another co-author of the paper and an INL staff scientist in the Department of Material Science and Engineering, handled these simulations. The computer models predicted outcomes that were similar to the experimental results. The work was funded through INL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program.

The INL study provides clues that can be used to help design precursors and processes that will yield preferred nanostructures, Pawar said. For instance, starting with a film resulted in higher electron mobility than what resulted when starting from fibers, which could be a consequence of the many boundaries in a fiber and their impact on the free movement of electrons. So, for a sensor or another application where conductivity is important, starting with a film might lead to a device that is more sensitive, is faster or uses less power.

In exploring all the possible combinations of processing steps, researchers at national labs, in industry and elsewhere need to be cost-effective in their investigations and outcomes. Simulations like those done by the INL group can help minimize the time, effort and expense of zeroing in on the right process and starting material.

“You cannot run an experiment forever. You need some guidance to optimize your experimental protocol,” Pawar said.

CHARGING BATTERIES FASTER

These batteries have an electrode made of graphite, a form of carbon. In operating the battery, the lithium ions are stored between layers in the graphite, which means the amount of void and defects in the material is important. With graphite of the proper structure, that movement of ions can be rapid, a requirement for extreme fast charging. Yet the graphite materials cannot be so porous that it renders the electrode useless.

Such charging might allow electric vehicles to get the equivalent of a full tank of gasoline within minutes instead of hours. That capability would make operating these emission-free cars and trucks similar to what people are used to with current gas-powered vehicles. This means the INL research project could prove beneficial in figuring out how to achieve that type of performance, a capability consumers seek.

“That’s our future goal in energy storage: how we can optimize this graphite structure,” Pawar said.

To help accomplish that, the researchers continue to expand their understanding of carbon microstructures and how they can be produced. In the end, this work may help create an electric vehicle battery that can reach full charge quickly – or, to put it in superhero terms, faster than a speeding bullet.

Tags:  carbon films  carbon nanofibre  Energy Storage  Graphene  Idaho National Laboratory  Kunal Mondal  Sensors 

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Gridtential Energy and LOLC Advanced Technologies Team up on New Bipolar Battery Technology

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Gridtential Energy, the inventor and developer of Silicon Joule™ bipolar battery technology and LOLC Advanced Technologies, the research and advanced technology arm of LOLC Group announce that they have entered into a technology evaluation agreement.

Under the agreement, over the next few months, LOLC Advanced Technologies and Gridtential Energy will collaborate on prototyping lead batteries with the combined advantages of Silicon Joule™ bipolar silicon plates and AltaLABGX, the Graphene battery additive applied to active materials, supplied by Ceylon Graphene Technologies, CGT (a joint venture between the LOLC Group and Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC). Preliminary work indicates that the combination of these elements will lead to higher performing batteries in energy density, charging rates and cycle life.

Silicon Joule™ bipolar technology has created an innovative class of lead batteries with silicon at its core. It is a design driven, low cost, high performance, patented energy storage solution that provides improved power density, cycle life, dynamic charge acceptance and temperature range, with up to 40% lower weight, while retaining full lead-battery recyclability. This is all accomplished while leveraging existing technologies from mature industry supply chains – allowing rapid adoption of existing lead-battery infrastructure.

"We are pleased to be working with LOLC Advanced Technologies and Ceylon Graphene Technologies, leaders in battery manufacturing solutions and graphene battery additives respectively. We expect that leveraging leading-edge electro chemistry with our highly efficient Silicon Joule bipolar design will produce industry leading performance with significantly lower weight," said Gridtential Energy CEO, John Barton. "Whether it is longer cycle-life or greater charge/discharge performance, Gridtential is changing the way that OEMs in automotive, 5G telecom, and stationary power markets think about high-performance, low-cost, safe energy storage.

"Every day, we are making it easier to leap into the Silicon Joule Technology future. Whether it is through our rapid prototyping development kits, off-the-shelf reference batteries, equipment manufacturing partners, and now additive experts, the adoption ecosystem has never been stronger. We are pleased that more and more battery manufacturing companies are taking advantage of our technology - now with Graphene battery additive - to produce lead-based products that can compete with lithium. We are quite confident that first movers will be richly rewarded with commercial success."

With Silicon Joule™ bipolar battery technology from Gridtential Energy, that combines the benefits of lead batteries with silicon-enabled, high performance characteristics, battery manufactures world-wide, will be prepared to meet the challenge.

"Worldwide demand is increasing for superior energy storage systems at the edge and driving innovation. LOLC Advanced Technologies with Ceylon Graphene Technologies are improving battery electro-chemistry with our pure graphene and our advanced manufacturing expertise. Partnering with Gridtential's Silicon Joule bipolar solution will lead the advancements in safe, reliable and higher performing lead batteries," said, Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara, LOLC Group

Tags:  Batteries  Battery  Ceylon Graphene Technologies  Energy Storage  Graphene  Gridtential Energy  Ishara Nanayakkara  John Barton  LOLC Group 

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Battery anode agreement with Farasis Energy

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Australian battery anode provider Talga Resources Ltd is pleased to advise the Company has entered an agreement with Farasis Energy Europe GmbH (“Farasis”), a subsidiary of Farasis Energy Inc, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries.

Talga is building a European anode production facility for lithium-ion batteries using the Company’s proprietary material technologies, wholly owned Swedish carbon source and 100% electricity from renewable energy sources. As part of the agreement between Talga and Farasis (“Agreement”), Talga will supply coated (‘active’) anode products for evaluation in Farasis batteries and assessment of potential business development opportunities, primarily in Europe.

Talga Managing Director, Mr Mark Thompson: “Following successful initial tests, we are very pleased to continue this progress in collaboration with the experienced Farasis team. Talga is making substantial progress in commercialising its European lithium-ion battery anode products, and demand is growing rapidly, particularly in the EV market. We look forward to working together with Farasis to advance our anode materials for their innovative energy storage solutions.”

Anode Market Background and Agreement Details
Talga is a developing lithium-ion battery anode producer in Sweden, utilising vertical integration and wholly owned technology to supply cost competitive and high-quality anode to European battery markets. The Company’s operations in northern Sweden use fossil free hydroelectricity, enabling Talga’s position as a low-emission leader in anode production and a secure local partner for the emerging European battery supply chain.

Europe is undergoing unprecedented growth in the demand for lithium-ion batteries, driven by the move to electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. This creates new demand for sustainable and locally sourced battery anode materials, such as Talga’s. In addition, global EV battery demand is forecast to grow 14-fold by 2030, which would require approximately 1.7 million tonnes of anode material per annum1.

Under the non-binding Agreement Talga agrees to supply Farasis with lithium-ion battery anodes in quantities as mutually agreed and required, with no contractually obligated minimum quantity, for evaluation and business development purposes. The Agreement is valid until 2024 and either party can choose to withdraw at any time via standard termination clauses, not constituting binding commercial terms. All of Talga’s intellectual property rights remain unaffected by the Agreement

The Company is unable to quantify the economic benefits to Talga arising from the Agreement at this stage. Further terms, including quantity and pricing, are subject to negotiations throughout evaluation and development, and in the event commercially binding contracts are entered into Talga will inform the market. However, Talga recognises Farasis commercial relationships, particularly with European automotive manufacturers2, to be well aligned with its developing Swedish anode business.

Tags:  Battery  energy storage  Farasis Energy Europe GmbH  Graphene  Li-ion batteries  Mark Thompson  Talga Resources 

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Holey Graphene: The Emerging Versatile Material Investigated at Khalifa University

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Graphene is a unique material comprising densely packed carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice—known mostly to the public as the layers of material that make up pencil lead. It is extremely versatile and has potential applications in various fields, particularly thanks to its superior optical, electrical, thermal and mechanical properties.

In its purest form, graphene offers myriad applications. However, in recent years, nanoscale perforation of 2D materials has emerged as an effective strategy to enhance and widen the applications of a material beyond its pristine form.

“With the possible exception of cheese, it is well known that materials have modified properties when their structure is perforated,” said Dr. Patole. “Porous graphene, or holey graphene, is a form of graphene with nanopores in its plane. This unique porous structure enables easy interaction with inorganic or organic species, which has broad applications in water desalination, water treatment, environmental protection, and energy storage systems.”

The performance of the material is affected by the pore size, density, shape, and volume, and usually, uniform pore shape and size distribution is optimal as it leads to enhanced thermal, mechanical and electrical properties.

Graphene-based porous materials are classified into three categories based on the assembled architecture, namely holey graphene, 2D laminar porous graphene, and 3D conjugated interconnected porous structures, with holey graphene showing abundant in-plane pores generated at the basal plane using various perforation techniques. Nanochannels are formed due to the regular and periodic stacking of graphene nanosheets over each other, making interlayer pores through which liquid ions can easily pass.

“By exploiting the combined advantages of holes and graphene, holey graphene-based materials have attracted significant interest,” said Dr. Patole. “They have exceptional properties such as high electrical conductivity and high surface area, which allows holey graphene extremely versatile and able to outperform its pristine form for many applications.”

Porous graphene exhibits distinct properties from its pristine form. Compared to other graphene-based porous materials, holey graphene has an increased surface area, reduced nanosheet stacking, enhanced chemical reactivity and a stronger hydrophilic nature, which means it maximizes contact with water. Additionally, it offers high mechanical strength for superior structural stability, high chemical inertness to avoid contamination issues, high thermal stability for use in rigorous environments, high electrical conductivity for rapid electron transport, and high ion diffusion due to the interlayer channels. By fine tuning the parameters of the pores, porous graphene can be optimised for various applications.

“Holey graphene-based materials can be applied in diverse fields, including electrical energy storage, energy conversion, water desalination, bioseparation, fuel cells, gas sensors, and hydrogen storage and dye degradation systems,” added Dr. Patole. “For further research and development, we need to uncover the prime properties and related potential industrial implications of these materials, as well as suitable generation methods.”

The research team identified the pores as the basis for realizing holey graphene’s potential. However, synthesizing even pristine graphene is complicated. The most scalable methods suffer from the drawbacks of producing materials with inconsistent properties and low purity. Methods that produce high-quality graphene are much more expensive and involve the use of highly sophisticated operational setups and accessories.

“This is why it’s important to develop methods that are easy, cost-effective, efficient and scalable for graphene synthesis,” explained Dr. Patole.

When pristine graphene has been produced, it can be made porous by chemical and physical methods, but hole generation is tricky and its parameters depend on the methods adopted for its intended purpose.

“Generally, the expected pore size should be smaller than the conventional pore size of the naturally available materials,” said Dr. Patole. “However, fabricating porous graphene with well-defined pores is still a challenge as it is quite complex and restricted by our current technological limits.”

Synthesizing holey graphene is also associated with the use of toxic chemicals and the high cost of the starting materials, so novel strategies will be required for its synthesis. The researchers investigated the use of biomass as a starting material, including Bougainvillea flowers and Plumeria rubra leaves, among other approaches.

Besides the major reported applications in supercapacitors, lithium ion batteries, electro-water splitting, and water desalination systems, holey graphene-based materials are also applied in various other applications. Some of these applications include hydrogen storage, dye degradation, organic pollutant separation, and gas sensing. Holey graphene has even been investigated for biological applications, with the researchers highlighting effective performance in non-enzymatic glucose detection in human blood samples and selective bacterial detection.

“Holey graphene-based materials have emerged as versatile materials and have demonstrated superior performance in many applications,” explained Dr. Patole. “With continuous efforts and developments, the commercial application of holey graphene-based materials will surely revolutionize all sorts of applications.”

Tags:  2D materials  Energy Storage  Graphene  Khalifa University  Shashikant Patole 

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DST INSPIRE Faculty develops nanomaterials having energy storage application & optical sensors for water pollution control

Posted By Graphene Council, Saturday, April 25, 2020
A recipient of the INSPIRE Faculty Award instituted by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India. Dr. Ashish Kumar Mishra, Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi, has made significant achievements in developing nanomaterials based supercapacitors to achieve high energy density and power density of supercapacitors, along with his group.

Increasing energy demand due to the growth of human population and technological advancement poses a great challenge for human society. High energy density of supercapacitors suggests that constant current can be withdrawn for longer duration without recharging. Hence automobiles can run longer distances without charging. Supercapacitors can be an alternative for such purposes.

Dr. Mishra and his research group at IIT (BHU) have developed a reduced graphene oxide (rGO) at a moderate temperature of 100°C with high capacitance performance. The production process is a cost-effective one, making it suitable for commercial purposes. This work has been published in Materials Research Express.

The group which works on carbon (Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene) and metal dichalcogenides (MoS2, MoSe2, etc.) nanomaterials based supercapacitors to achieve high energy density and power density of supercapacitors, have also developed a novel green approach for synthesis of Iron-based nanocatalyst, which can be used for large scale production of Cabon Nanotubes.

In addition to energy storage, Dr. Mishra’s group is also working on optoelectronic applications of nanomaterials. In this context, they are working on developing novel nanostructures of carbon and metal dichalcogenides semiconductors for photodetection and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). Through this work, they have demonstrated excellent photodetection behaviour of different architectures of nanoscale MoS2 for the detection of visible light. The high photoresponsivity obtained in this work can be useful to develop ultrafast detectors for signalling purpose. The work has been published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

The SERS can help detect harmful molecules present in water at ultra-low concentrations. His group has successfully demonstrated detection of Rhodamine 6G (R6G), an organic laser dye up to lowest limit of sub-nano-molar concentration using rGO and MoS2 nanomaterials. This work has been published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C. They have also examined the nonlinear optical response of the material developed, which suggests that some of these materials can be used to develop protectors for high power light sources like lasers.

Their focus on energy and optoelectronics devices paves the way for the development of cost-effective and efficient devices, which can be used for energy storage application. Their findings make way for materials which can be used as advanced photodetectors and also be used as optical sensors for water pollution control.

Tags:  Ashish Kumar Mishra  Cabon Nanotubes  Energy  energy storage  Graphene  graphene oxide  Indian Institute of Technology (BHU)  nanomaterials  supercapacitors 

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POSITION AVAILABLE: Conductive Ink Formulation Scientist

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Nanotech Energy is developing cutting-edge energy storage solutions for the electric and portable electronics markets. This technology is based on the wonder material graphene that is established as the thinnest, strongest and most conductive material. Our mission at Nanotech Energy is to harness the power of graphene into world-changing battery solutions. We also take advantage of the outstanding structural, mechanical and electronic properties of graphene to develop conductive inks and adhesives as well as electromagnetic interference shielding materials with unparalleled performance. Nanotech Energy seeks talented scientists and engineers to join the expanding development and production teams. Choosing where to start and grow your career has a major impact on your professional and personal life. Nanotech Energy is home for cutting-edge graphene and nanomaterials technology and our scientists develop solutions that impact our community and the world. We offer you a chance to join a high-growth company at an early stage and shape the direction of our culture.

Position Summary :

Nanotech Energy, Inc. is seeking a talentedInk Formulation Scientist to join our expanding team located in Northern California. As a leading company in the manufacture of graphene oxide, silver nanoparticles and nanowires, we plan to offer our customers a full spectrum of conductive inks for a wide range of applications.

The successful candidate will work with our chemistry team and analytical scientists to develop conductive inks for the growing markets of printed electronics and smart packaging.You will use your knowledge in conductive ink formulations to develop, validate and implement inkjet, aerosol and screen printing inks. This job requires a strong hands-on experience in a variety of printing processes and ink formulations and the ability to work independently with little supervisions, yet also be an integral team member. As our residential expert in conductive inks, you will coordinate ink development with cross-functional teams to meet our engineering and customer needs. You will also be responsible for facilitating the transition of our inks from development to manufacturing. Nanotech Energy is made up of amazing individuals but it’s only through teamwork that we achieve greatness. At Nanotech Energy, you will be given the opportunity to participate and join in the growth stage of a startup company and contribute at all levels to make an impact.

Job Type: Full-time

Job level: Senior level 

Responsibilities and Duties

• Lead technical and quality needs for our conductive inks projects to address immediate and strategic problems of the company.
• Contribute to the continuous improvement of processes and capabilities in the company.
• Participate in the design and development ofa new laboratory for inkjet, aerosol and screen printing applications. 
• Develop or improve existing products and processes to prepare dispersions and inks and help to implement in production. 
• Synthesize and characterize new products, components, and formulations. 
• Assist in collecting data and writing of patent inventions associated with the development of new products. 
• Apply knowledge to provide customer support and troubleshooting in the application of commercial products.
• Assist our engineers and plant production personnel in scaling up the technology from bench to manufacturing.
• Review and write standard operating procedures for analytical development.
• Conduct experiments to test the long-term stability of our inks. Analyze results of experiments and trials and write reports. 
• Assist in the supervision of less experienced chemists and technicians in the team. Provide other support as needed to help maintain an efficientdevelopment lab.
• Communicate ideas and results internally across multiple teams. 

Education and Qualifications

• Bachelor degree in chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering or related field. PhD degree with relevant experience is also acceptable. 
• Experience in the preparation, processing and characterization of conductive inks for printed and flexible electronics. 
• Knowledge of fluid dynamics, rheology, and fluid development is required. 
• Demonstrated history of solving problems with a chemical and analytical approach.
• Strong background in colloidal and surface chemistry and surface treatment through material design, synthesis, and characterization. 
• Experience with the development of transparent conducting electrodes with different surface properties is highly desirable. 
• Examples of instrumentation / techniques: Viscometry, goniometry (with tensiometry), DLS, zeta potential, SEM, TEM
• Knowledge of nanocolloidal system stability; nanoparticle synthesis experience is a plus 
• Scale up experience with nanocolloidal systems
• Experience with at least one printing process is required.
• Experience with nanomaterial surface coatings for added functions is a plus. 
• 3-5 years of industry experience (less for candidates with advanced degrees).

Professional Skills

• Ability to respond to multiple priorities simultaneously; ability to coordinate team and projects to meet the company needs and deadlines. 
• Strong project management skills.
• Skilled in troubleshooting and analytical thinking with an interest in solving complex problems. 
• Ability to deal with a variety of abstract and concrete variables and to conduct studies using the scientific method
• Demonstrated understanding of analytical chemistry and materials science, especially in rheology, polymer, and thermal analysis. 
• Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in both verbal and written formats; ability to work effectively with team members and management. 
• Competency level should allow the employee to author internal reports, reports to customers, or articles for ink industry publications.
• Experience in 3D printing and thermal inkjet is a plus. 

Work authorization / location:
• United States (Required)

Contact
Scott Jacobson
Director of Business Development
scottjacobson@nanotechenergy.com

Tags:  Battery  Energy Storage  Graphene  nanomaterials  Nanotech Energy  Scott Jacobson 

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Fast-charging, long-running, bendy energy storage breakthrough

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, February 19, 2020
A new bendable supercapacitor made from graphene, which charges quickly and safely stores a record-high level of energy for use over a long period, has been developed and demonstrated by UCL and Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers.

While at the proof-of-concept stage, it shows enormous potential as a portable power supply in several practical applications including electric vehicles, phones and wearable technology.

The discovery, published today in Nature Energy, overcomes the issue faced by high-powered, fast-charging supercapacitors – that they usually cannot hold a large amount of energy in a small space.

First author of the study, Dr Zhuangnan Li (UCL Chemistry), said: “Our new supercapacitor is extremely promising for next-generation energy storage technology as either a replacement for current battery technology, or for use alongside it, to provide the user with more power.

“We designed materials which would give our supercapacitor a high power density – that is how fast it can charge or discharge – and a high energy density – which will determine how long it can run for. Normally, you can only have one of these characteristics but our supercapacitor provides both, which is a critical breakthrough.

“Moreover, the supercapacitor can bend to 180 degrees without affecting performance and doesn’t use a liquid electrolyte, which minimises any risk of explosion and makes it perfect for integrating into bendy phones or wearable electronics.”

A team of chemists, engineers and physicists worked on the new design, which uses an innovative graphene electrode material with pores that can be changed in size to store the charge more efficiently. This tuning maximises the energy density of the supercapacitor to a record 88.1 Wh/L (Watt-hour per litre), which is the highest ever reported energy density for carbon-based supercapacitors.

Similar fast-charging commercial technology has a relatively poor energy density of 5-8 Wh/L and traditional slow-charging but long-running lead-acid batteries used in electric vehicles typically have 50-90 Wh/L.

While the supercapacitor developed by the team has a comparable energy density to state-of-the-art value of lead-acid batteries, its power density is two orders of magnitude higher at over 10,000 Watt per litre.

Senior author and Dean of UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences, Professor Ivan Parkin (UCL Chemistry), said: “Successfully storing a huge amount of energy safely in a compact system is a significant step towards improved energy storage technology. We have shown it charges quickly, we can control its output and it has excellent durability and flexibility, making it ideal for development for use in miniaturised electronics and electric vehicles. Imagine needing only ten minutes to fully-charge your electric car or a couple of minutes for your phone and it lasting all day.”

The researchers made electrodes from multiple layers of graphene, creating a dense, but porous material capable of trapping charged ions of different sizes. They characterised it using a range of techniques and found it performed best when the pore sizes matched the diameter of the ions in the electrolyte.

The optimised material, which forms a thin film, was used to build a proof-of-concept device with both a high power and high energy density.

The 6cm x 6cm supercapacitor was made from two identical electrodes layered either side of a gel-like substance which acted as a chemical medium for the transfer of electrical charge. This was used to power dozens of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and was found to be highly robust, flexible and stable.

Even when bent at 180 degrees, it performed almost same as when it was flat, and after 5,000 cycles, it retained 97.8% of its capacity.

Senior author, Professor Feng Li (Chinese Academy of Sciences), said: “Over the next thirty years, the world of intelligent technology will accelerate, which will greatly change communication, transportation and our daily lives. By making energy storage smarter, devices will become invisible to us by working automatically and interactively with appliances. Our smart cells are a great example of how the user experience might be improved and they show enormous potential as portable power supply in future applications.”

Tags:  Chinese Academy of Sciences  Electric Vehicle  Energy Storage  Feng li  Graphene  Ivan Parkin  Supercapacitor  University College London  Zhuangnan Li 

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Global Graphene Group Named R&D 100 Award Finalist

Posted By Graphene Council, Friday, January 17, 2020
Global Graphene Group (G3) was honored recently by R&D World, naming G3’sgraphene-protected lithium metal anode for rechargeable metal batteries solution (HELiX™) a finalist for the 2019 R&D100 Award. The R&D 100 Awards recognize the top 100 most technologically significant new products of the year. 

HELiX is a single-layer graphene-protected lithium metal technology making high-energy rechargeable metal batteries viable. It allows extremely low anode usage (anode/cathode ratio ≤ 10%), creating an energy density over 350 Wh/kg and 1,000 Wh/L, which yields a 60-80% improvement over current lithium-ion batteries. This offers unprecedented opportunities for advanced portable devices/electric vehicles.

HELiX is a readily available, drop-in, graphene-enabled anode solution for all types of high-energy, lithium metal batteries (e.g. advanced Li-ion, all solid-state batteries, Li-S, Li-Se, and Li-air cells). It adds immediate value to any rechargeable battery, including, but not limited to power drones, renewable energy storage systems, aerospace applications, unmanned vehicles, and electric vehicles (EVs). Additionally, due to its performance, batteries can be reduced in size by 30-40% while still providing the required energy. This provides room for other components or allows for significant reductions in size and weight.  The most promising opportunity for HELiX graphene-enabled anode solutions is inEV batteries, where it can replace incumbent (graphite) technology today and drive an accelerated adoption of EVs due to improved cost and performance. 

“Rechargeable lithium metal batteries for next-generation portable devices and EVs must meet several challenging requirements: safety, high energy density, long cycle life, and low cost.This is the end-goal laid out by nearly every EV manufacturer for the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Aruna Zhamu, VP of New Product / Process Development at G3. 

“Global Graphene Group has developed an enabling anode-protecting technology that is essential to successful operation of safe, high-energy and long-cycle-life lithium metal batteries working with liquid, quasi-solid, or solid electrolytes,” continued Dr. Zhamu.“This HELiX product has overcome the long-standing issues thus far impeding successful commercialization of all the rechargeable batteries that make use of lithium metal as the anode material. OurHELiX technology is available and offers a drop-in, scalable, facile, cost reducing improvement over current solutions. It lowers the battery cost to less than$100 US$/kWh.”

G3 developed and produces the HELiX solution in its Dayton, Ohio, facilities. G3 was named an R&D 100 winner in 2018 for its graphene-enabled silicon anode (GCATM).

Tags:  Aruna Zhamu  Batteries  electric vehicle  Energy Storage  Global Graphene Group  Graphene  Li-Ion batteries  Lithium 

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XG Sciences and Perpetuus Partner to Supply Graphene to the North American Tire Markets

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, December 11, 2019
XG Sciences, Inc., a market leader in the design and manufacture of graphene nanoplatelets and advanced materials containing graphene nanoplatelets, announced it has  entered into Commercialization and License Agreements with Perpetuus Advance Materials, a market leader in the production of dispersible, surface-modified graphene to optimize their performance in a range of matrices and end-use markets.

The Agreements provide the commercial framework allowing the two companies to more closely collaborate in the exclusive supply of functionalized graphene into the North American market and to also collaboratively develop applications for the global marketplace.  Initially, the Companies will focus efforts on elastomers, with an emphasis on tires and related applications, but may expand the relationship over time to include other markets and applications.  Under the Agreements, Perpetuus will locate one or more of its patented, plasma-based surfaces-modification production plants in the U.S. near one of XG Sciences’ graphene nanoplatelet production facilities.  The collaboration contemplates both product development collaboration and high-volume commercial supply.

First isolated and characterized in 2004, graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms. Among many noted properties, monolayer graphene is harder than diamonds, lighter than steel but significantly stronger, and conducts electricity better than copper. Graphene nanoplatelets are particles consisting of multiple layers of graphene with unique capabilities for energy storage, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, barrier properties, lubricity and the ability to impart physical property improvements when incorporated into plastics, metals or other matrices.

“We have been working with Perpetuus in various commercial and development efforts for the past several years.  This Agreement represents a key milestone in the commercial adoption of graphene and establishes XG Sciences and Perpetuus as marque players in the supply of graphene for use in tire elastomers and other applications,” said Dr. Philip Rose, CEO, XG Sciences. “The North American elastomer market, especially those used in tires is substantial.   Perpetuus has unique technology with demonstrated performance enhancements when incorporated into tires.  Tires will likely represent one of the break-out applications for graphene and we are now well-positioned with Perpetuus to deliver solutions to the elastomer market,” said Bamidele Ali, Chief Commercial Officer, XG Sciences.

“XG Sciences is a well-known leader in the graphene field and is an ideal choice with whom to partner to bring our technology to this important market,” said John Buckland, CEO, Perpetuus.

“We are familiar with XG Sciences’ graphene nanoplatelets and we have been utilizing them as input materials to our patented, surface-modification process and supplying the resulting high-performance graphenes to both commercial and developmental customers in a range of applications and markets.  It is a natural fit to partner our two Companies and leverage our respective capabilities to serve the North American market for elastomers,” said Ian Walters, Director and COO, Perpetuus.

Tags:  Bamidele Ali  energy storage  Graphene  Perpetuus Advanced Materials  Philip Rose  Tires  XG Sciences 

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Robust electrodes could pave the way to lighter electric vehicles

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, December 3, 2019
One of the biggest remaining problems facing electric vehicles – whether they are road-going, waterborne or flying – is weight. Vehicles must carry their energy storage, and in the case of electric vehicles this inevitably means batteries.

No matter how many advances electrical engineers make in improving energy density, batteries remain dense and heavy components, and this is a drag on vehicle performance.

One approach to reducing the weight of electric vehicles might be to incorporate energy storage into the structure of the vehicle itself, thereby distributing the mass all over the vehicle and reducing the need for a single large battery or even eliminating it altogether.

The stumbling block to this approach is that materials that are good for energy storage and release tend to have properties that are not useful for structural applications: they are often brittle, which has obvious safety implications.

A team led by a Texas A&M University chemical engineer, Jodie Lutkenhaus, now claims to have made progress towards solving this problem using an approach inspired by brain chemistry and a trick employed by shellfish to stick themselves to rocks.

In a paper in the journal Matter, Lutkenhaus and her colleagues explain how their studies of redox active polymers for energy storage led them to investigate the properties of dopamine, most familiar as a signal-carrying molecule in the brain involved in movement, but also a very sticky substance that mimics proteins found in the material that mussels use to fasten themselves tightly to any surface underwater.

The team used dopamine to functionalise – that is, chemically bond to – graphene oxide, and then combine this material into a composite with aramid fibres, better known as Kevlar. This composite is both strong and tough, with a structure and properties similar to the famously tough natural material nacre or mother-of-pearl, and the graphene in its structure conveys both lightness and electrical properties that make it useful as an electrode.

The researchers describe using this material to form the electrodes for a super capacitor, a kind of energy storage device which can be charged and discharged very quickly.

The paper reports the highest ever multifunctional efficiency (a metric which evaluates material based on both its mechanical and electrochemical performance) for graphene-based materials.

Tags:  batteries  electric vehicle  energy storage  Graphene  graphene oxide  Jodie Lutkenhaus  Journal Matter  mimics proteins  polymers  super capacitor  Texas A&M University 

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