Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Team uses forest waste to develop cheaper, greener supercapacitors

Any kind of wood can be made into biochar by heating in a low-oxygen chamber. Some types of wood work better than others. Pictured, left to right, are white birch, white pine and red cedar.Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Any kind of wood can be made into biochar by heating in a low-oxygen chamber. Some types of wood work better than others. Pictured, left to right, are white birch, white pine and red cedar.

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

Abstract:
Researchers report that wood-biochar supercapacitors can produce as much power as today's activated-carbon supercapacitors at a fraction of the cost - and with environmentally friendly byproducts.

Team uses forest waste to develop cheaper, greener supercapacitors

Champaign, IL | Posted on October 24th, 2013

The report appears in the journal Electrochimica Acta.

"Supercapacitors are power devices very similar to our batteries," said study leader Junhua Jiang, a senior research engineer at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois. While batteries rely on chemical reactions to produce sustained electrical energy, supercapacitors collect charged ions on their electrodes (in this case, the biochar), and quickly release those ions during discharge. This allows them to supply energy in short, powerful bursts - during a camera flash, for example, or in response to peak demand on the energy grid, Jiang said.

"Supercapacitors are ideal for applications needing instant power and can even provide constant power - like batteries, but at lower cost," he said. They are useful in transportation, electronics and solar- and wind-power energy storage and distribution.

Many of today's supercapacitors use activated carbon - usually from a fossil-fuel source, Jiang said.

"Costly and complicated procedures are normally used to develop the microstructures of the carbon - to increase the number of pores and optimize the pore network," he said. "This increases the surface area of the electrode and the pores' ability to rapidly capture and release the ions."

In wood-biochar supercapacitors, the wood's natural pore structure serves as the electrode surface, eliminating the need for advanced techniques to fabricate an elaborate pore structure. Wood biochar is produced by heating wood in low oxygen.

The pore sizes and configurations in some woods are ideal for fast ion transport, Jiang said. The new study used red cedar, but several other woods such as maple and cherry also work well.

Expensive and corrosive chemicals are often used to prepare the activated carbon used in supercapacitors, giving the electrodes the physical and chemical properties they need to function well, Jiang said.

"The use of those chemicals will probably impose some environmental impacts," he said. "This should be avoided or at least substantially reduced."

Jiang and his team activated their biochar with mild nitric acid, which washed away the ash (calcium carbonate, potassium carbonate and other impurities) in the biochar. The byproduct of this process has a beneficial use, Jiang said: The resulting solution of nitrate compounds can be used as fertilizer.

These simple approaches dramatically cut the material and environmental costs of assembling supercapacitors.

"The material costs of producing wood-biochar supercapacitors are five to 10 times lower than those associated with activated carbon," Jiang said. And when a biochar supercapacitor has reached the end of its useful life, the electrodes can be crushed and used as an organic soil amendment that increases fertility.

"The performance of our biochar materials is comparable to the performance of today's advanced carbon materials, including carbon nanotubes and graphenes," Jiang said. "We can achieve comparable performance with much less cost and probably much lower environmental costs."

The Illinois Hazardous Waste Research Fund and the HeteroFoaM Center (an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Basic Research) supported this study (award #DESC0001061).

The Illinois Sustainability Technology Center is part of the Prairie Research Institute at the U. of I.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Diana Yates
Life Sciences Editor
217-333-5802


Junhua Jiang

Copyright © University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

The paper, “Highly Ordered Macroporous Woody Biochar With Ultra-High Carbon Content as Supercapacitor Electrodes,” is available online:

Related News Press

News and information

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy: Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists have invented a new method of spectroscopy November 21st, 2017

Nano-watch has steady hands November 21st, 2017

Nano Global, Arm Collaborate on Artificial Intelligence Chip to Drive Health Revolution by Capturing and Analyzing Molecular Data in Real Time November 21st, 2017

Nanoparticles could allow for faster, better medicine: Exposure of nanoparticles in the body allows for more effective delivery November 20th, 2017

Graphene/ Graphite

ICN2 researchers compute unprecedented values for spin lifetime anisotropy in graphene November 17th, 2017

Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene : Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities November 2nd, 2017

Graphene enables high-speed electronics on flexible materials: A flexible terahertz detector has been developed by Chalmers using graphene transistors on plastic substrates. It is the first of its kind, and may open for applications requiring flexible electronics such as wireless October 31st, 2017

Graphene forged into three-dimensional shapes September 26th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

EC Project Aims at Creating and Commercializing Cyber-Physical-System Solutions November 14th, 2017

Nanobiotix presented new clinical and pre-clinical data confirming NBTXR3’s significant potential role in Immuno-Oncology at SITC Annual Meeting November 14th, 2017

Leti Joins DARPA-Funded Project to Develop Implantable Device for Restoring Vision November 9th, 2017

Nanoshells could deliver more chemo with fewer side effects: In vitro study verifies method for remotely triggering release of cancer drugs November 8th, 2017

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

TUBALL nanotube-based concentrates recognised as the most innovative raw material for composites by JEC Group November 7th, 2017

Nanotube fiber antennas as capable as copper: Rice University researchers show their flexible fibers work well but weigh much less October 23rd, 2017

Long nanotubes make strong fibers: Rice University researchers advance characterization, purification of nanotube wires and films October 17th, 2017

How to draw electricity from the bloodstream: A one-dimensional fluidic nanogenerator with a high power-conversion efficiency September 11th, 2017

Discoveries

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy: Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists have invented a new method of spectroscopy November 21st, 2017

Nano-watch has steady hands November 21st, 2017

Nanoparticles could allow for faster, better medicine: Exposure of nanoparticles in the body allows for more effective delivery November 20th, 2017

ICN2 researchers compute unprecedented values for spin lifetime anisotropy in graphene November 17th, 2017

Announcements

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy: Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists have invented a new method of spectroscopy November 21st, 2017

Nano-watch has steady hands November 21st, 2017

Nano Global, Arm Collaborate on Artificial Intelligence Chip to Drive Health Revolution by Capturing and Analyzing Molecular Data in Real Time November 21st, 2017

Nanoparticles could allow for faster, better medicine: Exposure of nanoparticles in the body allows for more effective delivery November 20th, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy: Lomonosov Moscow State University scientists have invented a new method of spectroscopy November 21st, 2017

Nano-watch has steady hands November 21st, 2017

Nanoparticles could allow for faster, better medicine: Exposure of nanoparticles in the body allows for more effective delivery November 20th, 2017

ICN2 researchers compute unprecedented values for spin lifetime anisotropy in graphene November 17th, 2017

Environment

Dendritic fibrous nanosilica: all-in-one nanomaterial for energy, environment and health November 4th, 2017

Nano-sized gold particles have been shaped to behave as clones in biomedicine November 3rd, 2017

Electrostatic force takes charge in bioinspired polymers November 2nd, 2017

How harmful are nano-copper and anti-fungal combinations in the waterways? October 27th, 2017

Energy

Inorganic-organic halide perovskites for new photovoltaic technology November 6th, 2017

Dendritic fibrous nanosilica: all-in-one nanomaterial for energy, environment and health November 4th, 2017

New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater: Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions October 4th, 2017

Researchers set time limit for ultrafast perovskite solar cells September 22nd, 2017

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Dendritic fibrous nanosilica: all-in-one nanomaterial for energy, environment and health November 4th, 2017

New Atomic Force Microscope to study piezoelectrics at the nanoscale October 29th, 2017

Strange but true: turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer October 20th, 2017

On the road to fire-free, lithium-ion batteries made with asphalt October 12th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project