Low-Temperature Supercapacitors Using Porous Carbon Aerogels

Low-Temperature Supercapacitors Using Porous Carbon Aerogels

Author: ChemistryViews.org

Supercapacitors are an alternative to batteries that can charge and discharge very fast. However, preserving this fast-charging capability at low temperatures is challenging. Conventional porous carbon electrodes do not perform well in the cold due to the lowered ion- and charge transport.

Jennifer Q. Lu, University of California, Merced, USA, Yat Li, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA, and colleagues have developed 3D-printed porous carbon aerogels for electrodes in ultralow-temperature supercapacitors, reducing heating needs, e.g., for capacitors used in space or polar missions. The team 3D-printed a porous carbon aerogel in a lattice pattern via a direct ink writing (DIW) method, using an ink based on cellulose nanocrystals and a silica nanosphere suspension. The cellulose nanocrystals act as a carbon precursor and the silica serves as a template for creating pores. After printing, the material was freeze-dried and carbonized, the silica template was removed, and the material was activated using KOH.

The resulting product has multiple levels of pores, from 500-µm pores in its lattice-like structure to nanometer-sized pores within the bars of the lattice. This multiscale porous network provides adequate ion diffusion and charge transfer through the resulting electrode at –70 °C, achieving higher energy storage capacitance than previously reported low-temperature supercapacitors.



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