Indian Scientists Come Up with an Improved Pseudocapacitor to Store Electrical Energy

In a novel discovery, scientists at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) have come up with new material for supercapacitors or pseudocapacitors, which can store electrical energy by electron charge transfer. INST is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.

This latest material can be used as an alternative to batteries as it offers a low-cost, highly scalable energy storage solution, according to the press release.

Ramendra Sundar Dey and his team of researchers at the INST have developed a new and exciting capability to overcome the long-standing challenges of pseudocapacitors, which includes their cycling stability and rate capability. Pseudocapacitors are a type of supercapacitors which store electrical energy by electron charge transfer.

The team at INST has developed a pseudocapacitive material, which is a hybrid xerogel structure for the very first time. The material was developed by combining dopamine onto a conductive matrix, like graphene.

Notably, this class of xerogel architectures has been reported to be an alternative to conventional pseudocapacitors. Still, they lack sufficient cycling stability to provide a viable alternative to batteries in the consumer market.

The researchers at INST investigated the reasons behind the fall in the performance of the active materials during long service hours and came up with a new synthetic approach. It was then correlated with the overall performance with explanation and theoretical support provided by Abir De Sarkar, who is also from the same institute.

Pseudocapacitors show a great promise as a low-cost and efficient energy storage solution, and there is every chance that it can be used for commercial applications. However, there are still some hurdles in the way.

The scientists at INST came up with this unique material by using a two-step synthesis procedure that is tailored in a way to take full structural advantage of the hybrid material. To develop the material, first, they used the hydrothermal synthesis method. Then they introduced the in situ electrochemical polymerization method to boost the overall storage capacity as well as the cycling stability.

A detailed study of the synthetic approach, as well as the mechanism of the redox supercapacitors at the molecular level, will go a long way in solving the issues of stability and inferior power output of pseudocapacitors and this bodes well for the future.

Recently, researchers from the Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology (CEST) came up with a new cathode material based on titanium fluoride phosphate, which is stated to be stable and has achieved superior performance at high discharge currents.

Earlier, scientists at Drexel University developed a new class of materials that can store electrical energy very quickly called MXene, which is two-dimensional titanium carbide. It works like a battery and can store a large amount of electrical energy through electrochemical reactions- but unlike batteries, they can be charged and discharged very quickly.