Power pa­per packs a punch

A sheet holds as much charge as a su­per­ca­pac­i­tor, now the ques­tion is how to make lots of it

The Witness - Wheels - - FUTURE TECH - — Wheels Re­porter.

RE­SEARCHERS at Linköping Univer­sity’s Lab­o­ra­tory of Or­ganic Elec­tron­ics, Swe­den, have pub­lished the re­sults of a new

“power pa­per” in Ad­vanced Science.

They re­port the power pa­per, which con­sists of nanocel­lu­lose and a con­duc­tive poly­mer, has an out­stand­ing abil­ity to store en­ergy.

One sheet, 15 cen­time­tres in di­am­e­ter and a few tenths of a mil­lime­tre thick, can store as much as 1 Farad, which is sim­i­lar to the su­per­ca­pac­i­tors cur­rently on the mar­ket. The power pa­per can also be recharged hun­dreds of times and each charge only takes a few sec­onds.

Pro­fes­sor of or­ganic elec­tron­ics Xavier Crispin de­scribed the power pa­per as “a dream prod­uct in a world where the in­creased use of re­new­able en­ergy re­quires new meth­ods for en­ergy stor­age”.

The ma­te­rial, power pa­per, looks and feels like a slightly pla­s­ticky pa­per and the re­searchers have amused them­selves by us­ing one piece to make an origami swan — which gives an in­di­ca­tion of its strength.

Jes­per Ed­berg, doc­toral stu­dent who con­ducted the ex­per­i­ments to­gether with Ab­del­lah Malti, who re­cently com­pleted his doc­tor­ate said the new cel­lu­lose-poly­mer ma­te­rial has set a new world record in si­mul­ta­ne­ous con­duc­tiv­ity for ions and elec­trons, which ex­plains its ex­cep­tional ca­pac­ity for en­ergy stor­age. It also opens the door to con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment to­ward even higher ca­pac­ity.

Un­like the bat­ter­ies and ca­pac­i­tors cur­rently on the mar­ket, power pa­per is pro­duced from sim­ple ma­te­ri­als — re­new­able cel­lu­lose and an eas­ily avail­able poly­mer. It is light in weight, it re­quires no dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals or heavy met­als and it is wa­ter­proof.

The Power Pa­per project has been fi­nanced by the Knut and Alice Wal­len­berg Foun­da­tion since 2012.

The next chal­lenge is to de­velop power pa­per on an in­dus­trial scale.

The re­searchers have re­ceived SEK 34 mil­lion (R58 mil­lion) from the Swedish Foun­da­tion for Strate­gic Re­search to con­tinue de­vel­op­ing a ma­chine to pro­duce power pa­per.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED.

Power pa­per be­ing stretched to show its elas­tic­ity. Billed as a dream prod­uct for a pow­er­hun­gry world, this piece of power pa­per holds as much charge as su­per­ca­pac­i­tors and can be recharged hun­dreds of times and each charge only takes a few sec­onds.

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