Imagine a future where your mobile phone can be charged in one se… done, your laptop in seconds, or your car in minutes. Imagine, in that future, you forget batteries and your child asks you curious about that relic in a museum. Batteries are the new tubes. Nobody will remember them but nerds…
That future is possible and is getting closer as science investigates. Check this article in Journal of Power Sources about some news:
Or ultracapacitors, depending on the exaggeration
Why SC instead of batteries?
Both store energy. But there are some differences in how that storage is carried out. Batteries are chemical magic obscure and incredibly complicated –for me-. Capacitors are based on an electric field trapped between two conductive layers close one to the other but separated by non conductive thin layer. Much simpler!
The difference has several interesting effects: a battery has lots of energy but the speed for taking or giving that energy is limited and is not much –remember how much time your phone is charging-, while a capacitor is not limited. Also if you move that energy too fast from your battery you will have heating problems… or exploding phones… or fire in your laptop!
What is an SC?
Easy: A capacitor with lots of capacity.
But the concept is far from easy… Normal capacitors that you use on your chargers are in order of µF –divided by one million-, but an SC has capacities of thousands of Farads. And that is… Let me open the calc… 1.000.000.000 times more than a normal capacitor. And of course, if you stack several you will multiply your capacity.
Concepts behind those numbers escape from my knowledge. I can only say that technologies used in SC are various and some are still under development. Elegant way to say: I have no idea.
The article I’ve referenced in this post talk about the new type being developed by Rice and Queensland Universities and those are made of carbon.
Just simply carbon.