Long-lasting graphene to recharge our batteries
The Energy Storage Work Package explores the benefits of graphene and layered materials in batteries and supercapacitors. The former store electrical charge for the long run; the latter store energy for quick, energetic deliveries, which comes in handy in electronics, transportation and many other applications.
We aim to improve the capabilities of these devices, accelerating charging rates and extending their lifetime. We also target additional features, such as improved mechanical properties and heat resistance. These advances have already led to improved performance under extreme environmental conditions, which could eventually trigger innovative applications in different industrial sectors. We have also developed batteries and supercapacitors that withstand bending and folding, providing new opportunities for flexible electronics and wearables.
Graphene – and other layered materials – offer opportunities to enhance well-established electrochemical energy storage solutions, including Nobel prize-winning lithium-ion batteries and double-layered supercapacitors. Layered materials also provide advantages for newer technologies, such as lithium-sulphur batteries and metal-air batteries. Still under development, these devices could yield unprecedented storage capacities. Beyond consumer electronics, high-performance batteries could transform the energy landscape, becoming a solution for the intermittence of renewable sources like solar and wind generators.
This year’s progress
Some successes over the past year include improving the mechanical stability and an enhanced powered density in different types of supercapacitors. We functionalised graphene with different chemical groups, such as phosphates, to diversify the possibilities and develop innovative applications in energy storage. Other examples include new graphene-coated current collectors to improve the performance of lithium-sulphur batteries and better sodium-air batteries incorporating exfoliated graphite films.
Most of our technologies already cover technology readiness levels (TRL) between three and six. In the next few years, we will focus on validating our technologies under real environmental conditions and developing new working demonstrators and prototypes to attract the interest of European industry. Thanks to our collaborations with the Spearhead Project GrEEnBat, led by Varta Microinnovation, we will enable the most advanced applications for graphene-enabled energy storage solutions.
Our biggest challenge is continuing to raise the TRL of our graphene-enabled batteries and supercapacitors. We will work on standardisation and certification processes, required by the battery market, which has high demands in terms of safety and stability of the products. The validation of device prototypes at industrial levels requires significant investments. Our collaborations with leading manufacturing companies in Europe will expedite these procedures, eventually shortening the time to market and making our discoveries available to end users soon.
The Graphene Flagship will exhibit exciting graphene applications for the energy sector at Enlit Europe, from 29 November to 1 December 2022 in Frankfurt.
The next generation of solar power is just around the corner. the solar cells created by the Graphene Flagship's GRAPES Spearhead Project are a unique fusion of silicon and perovskite technologies, enhanced by graphene.
The Swedish spin off pioneers a technology to control edges in transition metal dichalcogenides with close-to-atomic precision
The CircuitBreakers Spearhead Project, funded by the Graphene Flagship and led by industrial partners ABB, Nanesa and GraphMaTech AB, is developing a first-of-their-kind grease-free, maintenance-free, low-voltage circuit breakers for fault protection in key parts of the electrical grid.
The graphene technologies improving battery performance