New Technology Offers to Store Electricity In “Power Paper”

New Technology Offers to Store Electricity In “Power Paper”

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Energy storage technology may seem as if it’s been stuck in the past, but researchers worldwide are working diligently to come up with new applications of existing technology, to extend battery life, and novel technologies in their own right.

One of the most exciting recent developments is the rechargeable energy-storing paper developed by researchers at Linkoping University, Sweden. They call it “power paper.” At a glance, the material doesn’t look like it carries much of a punch, but a small patch – 15 centimetres in diameter, can store as much energy as supercapacitors currently available on the market.

The material can be recharged hundreds of times without much degradation in storage capacity, and charging it is fast – each charge takes only a few seconds.

“Power paper,” at the structural level, is made from nanocellulose. To make it, cellulose fibres are broken down with a high pressure water current into fibres as thin as 20 nanometres. A special electrically charged polymer is added to the solution, that forms a coating on the fibres. When dehydrated – just like regular paper pulp – thin, extremely strong sheets of the material are created.

One obvious advantage of “power paper” over traditional batteries is that the materials used in its production are all readily available, mostly renewable, and require no dangerous chemicals or heavy water. It is also waterproof.

”Thin films that function as capacitors have existed for some time. What we have done is to produce the material in three dimensions. We can produce thick sheets,” says Xavier Crispin, one of the lead researchers on the project. This is an exciting development, as it opens an avenue to usable applications of the material.

Now, the researchers are working on developing a method for mass producing the material.

You probably won’t be writing on the plasticy feeling material, but “power paper” could soon be powering your devices.