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Fully charging your #electric car, smartphone or laptop in minutes wit material intended for contact lenses.
Fully charging  your #electric car,  smartphone or laptop in minutes wit material intended for contact lenses.
Breaking News Breaking News

Material intended for contact lenses stores energy better than the best lithium batteries

Fully charging your smartphone, laptop or electric car in minutes: thanks to a technological breakthrough, it should be possible very soon. Because the application is cheap and simple, the creators claim that electric cars achieve the level of cars with internal combustion engines. Now it takes about eight hours on average to recharge a lithium battery in an electric car and also smartphones or laptops need quite a bit of charging time before they can do it again.
A black Lythium battery

Super capacitors

At the British universities of Surrey and Bristol they have come up with a solution that is so promising, that there is now a production unit. It is a new material for 'super capacitors'.
Super capacitors in different seizes and colors
Super capacitors

Super condensators have existed for decades, but due to their limited availability they have not been able to compete with the existing batteries until now. That is changing now! Supercapacitors can be recharged much faster and they also release much more energy than ordinary batteries. They have been around for decades, but because they can only store one-twentieth of the energy of what existing batteries can hold, they cannot yet compete with the lithium battery. In China there are already buses with supercapacitors, but they have to be charged at about every stop.

With a new material, a polymer that is intended for soft contact lenses, researchers have designed a new kind of super capacitor that could charge electric cars in ten minutes and that can store enough energy to let an electric car run independently for at least 320 to 500 kilometers drive, the maximum of the best batteries now. It is a new polymer material that has 'dielectric' properties that are 1,000 to 10,000 times larger than existing electrical conductors in batteries.

China’s fast charging busses
Rechargeable red electric bus on the road in front of a silver coloured building
Rechargeable electric bus : 10 seconds to charge thanks to supercapacitors

In China, buses are already running on supercon- idents, but they have to be recharged every two stops. With the new technology, this only needs to be done every twenty stops

The team states that their battery can hold significantly more energy than the current lithium-ion batteries. "Instead of having to recharge the two stops, electric buses in China would have to be recharged with this new application every twenty to thirty stops, which would take a few seconds," it sounds. This bus is recharged at stop stations, while passengers getting on or off the bus. Each charge allows the bus to travel up to five kilometers. In addition, the bus consumes 30 to 50 percent less energy than other electric vehicles.

These supercapacitors are able to operate 12 years and endure over a million charge, even under high temperatures. The supercapacitor technology is more reliable, faster and more durable than batteries that cannot usually withstand a lot more than 500 recharge cycles.

Thanks to supercapacitors, the opportunity charging electric buses is emerging as the most reliable and most economical way to develop a fleet of electric buses within cities.

Water-based material

The researchers tested the new, water-based and therefore durable material in two ways: by charging a small layer in two minutes to 1.5 volts, in order to get a small cooling system working with it and by thicker layer to charge up to five volts to feed an LED lamp.

Based on these results, Superdielectrics Ltd, the company behind the technology, is planning a first production center.

Renewable energy

'With these proposed conditions of storage, these vehicles can in theory compete with the lithium-ion battery.' The engineers themselves speak of a 'revolutionary breakthrough' that can also be the basis for the inexpensive way to store renewable energy that we are looking for so much.

Jeroen Büscher, battery expert at EnergyVille / VITO calls the find "interesting and promising". "With these suggested storage values, they can theoretically compete with the lithium-ion battery, which means that your electric car would have the same range as now, but you could charge it much faster without the need for an extra classic battery," says the specialist. "But they still have to be able to produce this sustainably and not too expensive on an industrial level."

However, Highgate states that he is certain that within two years there will be a prototype of his supercapacitors that specialized users, such as the army, will be able to deploy.

Barbara Debusschere