SBIR Phase II: Microporous Carbons with Aligned Pores for Supercapacitors
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
541 10th St NW #195, Atlanta, GA, 30318-0000
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project aims to develop novel type of porous carbon materials with aligned pores for applications in electrical double-layer capacitors (EDLCs). These devices are serving multiple applications, such as smart electrical grids, hybrid-electric vehicles, energy-efficient industrial equipment and personal electronics. Conventional EDLCs store energy by adsorbing organic electrolyte ions on the internal surface of activated carbon electrodes under the application of electrical potential. They commonly take 10 to 100 seconds to charge or discharge. This charge rate is limited by the diffusion of ions inside the tortuous pores of activated carbons. The growing numbers of pulse-power applications, however, often need current boosts for only 1-10 seconds. These applications, therefore, will utilize a fraction of the energy storage capability of conventional EDLCs, which greatly increases the total weight and cost of the energy storage system, slowing down technology adoption. Herein, we propose an innovative low-cost material synthesis route for the formation of porous carbons with finely controlled microstructure, tunable pore size, high surface area, and, most importantly, aligned micropores for rapid ion transport and high power density. These materials offer a combination of fast charging rate and high specific capacitance. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the contribution to dramatic improvements in EDLC technology and reduction of its cost. EDLCs, unlike secondary batteries, exhibit much higher specific power and demonstrate outstanding cycle life and greatly improved safety. The use of EDLCs in transportation and industrial equipment could lead to a major reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Their application in electrical grids will make multiple renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar, more economical. The rate of adoption of this important technology could be significantly enhanced if EDLCs could be produced at a lower cost or if they offered further improved performance. These device characteristics are linked to the cost and properties of activated carbon electrodes. Unfortunately, nearly all EDLC manufacturers rely on the existing manufacturers of activated carbon. The expected improvements in material properties from this Phase II project are expected to have a major impact on the EDLC market size and the EDLC technology adoption.
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