The Aqueous Storage Device That Needs Just 20 Seconds to Charge

A KAIST research team developed a new hybrid energy storage device that can be charged in less than half a minute. It employs aqueous electrolytes instead of flammable organic solvents, so it is both environmentally friendly and safe. It also facilitates a boosting charge with high energy density, which makes it suitable for portable electronic devices.

Professor Jeung Ku Kang and his team from the Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Water, and Sustainability developed this hybrid energy storage with high energy and power densities over a long cycle life by assembling fiber-like polymer chain anodes and sub-nanoscale metal oxide cathodes on graphene.

Switching a wearable LED kit with two AHCs in series charged by a flexible photovoltaic cell. (Image: via KAIST)

Switching a wearable LED kit with two AHCs in series charged by a flexible photovoltaic cell. (Image: KAIST)

Conventional aqueous electrolyte-based energy storage devices have a limitation for boosting charges and high energy density due to low driving voltages and a shortage of anode materials.

Energy storage device capacity is determined by the two electrodes, and the balance between cathode and anode leads to high stability. In general, two electrodes show differences in electrical properties and differ in ion storage mechanism processes, resulting in poor storage and instability from the imbalance.

The research team came up with new structures and materials to facilitate rapid speed in energy exchange on the surfaces of the electrodes and minimize the energy loss between the two electrodes.

The team made anodes with graphene-based polymer chain materials. The web-like structure of graphene leads to a high surface area, thereby allowing higher capacitance.

For cathode materials, the team used metal oxide in sub-nanoscale structures to elevate atom-by-ion redox reactions. This method realized higher energy density and faster energy exchange while minimizing energy loss.

The developed device can be charged within 20 to 30 seconds using a low-power charging system, such as a USB switching charger or a flexible photovoltaic cell. The developed aqueous hybrid energy device shows more than 100-fold higher power density compared to conventional aqueous batteries and can be rapidly recharged.

Further, the device showed high stability with its capacity maintained at 100 percent at a high charge/discharge current. Professor Kang said:

This research, led by PhD candidate Il Woo Ock, was published in Advanced Energy Materials on January 15.

Provided by: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

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