Converting eggshell membranes into a high-performance electrodematerial for supercapacitors ( Nanowerk Spotlight ) Ultra- or supercapacitors are emerging as a key enabling storagetechnology for use in fuel-efficient transport as well as inrenewable energy (read more: "Nanotechnologies to mitigate global warming" ). These devices combine the advantages of conventional capacitors– they can rapidly deliver high current densities on demand– and batteries – they can store a large amount ofelectrical energy. Today's commercial supercapacitors – which are mostly electric double layer capacitors (EDLC) – store energy in two closely spaced layers withopposing charges and offer fast charge/discharge rates and theability to sustain millions of cycles. Researchers have come upwith various electrode materials to improve the performance ofsupercapacitors, focussing mostly on porous carbon due to its highsurface areas, tunable structures, good conductivities, and lowcost. |
In recent years, this has increasingly included research onvarious carbon nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes , carbon nano-onions , or graphene . "An ideal supercapacitor is one with both high energy densityand high power density," Zhi Li, a post doc researcher in David Mitlin's group at the University of Alberta, explains to Nanowerk. "With agiven potential window, the energy density is decided by specificcapacitance while the power density is governed by the seriesresistance which is mainly caused by the resistance of electrodematerials. Electrode materials with high conductivities are desiredin the consideration of power density. However, the complicatedmicroporous structures and disordered texture of activated carbonlimits the efficiency of electron transfer and leads to a poorperformance of the supercapacitor at high sweep rate." In new work recently published in Advanced Energy Materials ( "Carbonized Chicken Eggshell Membranes with 3D Architecturesas High-Performance Electrode Materials for Supercapacitors" ), first-authored by Li, researchers have demonstrated that acommon daily waste – the eggshell membrane – can beconverted into a high-performance carbon material forsupercapacitors.
The integrated framework structure of carbonized chicken eggshellmembrane. This unique structure facilitates the electron andelectrolyte transfer and makes this material ideal for thehigh-power applications, such as powering electrical vehicles.(Image: Mitlin Group, University of Alberta) "Considering over 1000 billion eggs are consumed per yearglobally, and that 300.
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