Friday, 29 May 2009

Breakthrough in energy storage could make it possible to store large amounts of renewable electricity

photo of Professor Rodney Ruoff and graduate                      student Meryl Stoffer in the lab.
Professor Rodney Ruoff and graduate student Meryl Stoller in the lab where they are producing graphene
(a single-atom thick layer of carbon atoms) materials in contact with electrolyte ions, such as happens
during charging of an electrochemical double layer capacitor.


Engineers and scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have achieved a breakthrough in the use of a one-atom thick structure called "graphene" as a new carbon-based material for storing electrical charge in ultracapacitor devices, perhaps paving the way for the massive installation of renewable energies such as wind and solar power.

“Graphene has superior electrical conductivity and surface area, and these attributes suggest it could work exceptionally well in electrochemical double-layer capacitance applications, also referred to as 'supercapacitor' or 'ultracapacitor' technology. The structure of graphene is fundamentally different than activated carbon, which is typically used in supercapacitors now.

"Our goals include obtaining significantly improved specific capacitance in Farads/gram and improved energy density,” said Prof. Rod Ruoff, a Cockrell Family Regents Chair in the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin. “We are very excited to have this opportunity to commercialize the graphene-based ultracapacitor technology to address the ever-growing needs for energy storage, in particular, in applications with the need for high power densities,” said Dr. Dileep Agnihotri, CEO of Graphene Energy Inc., “and I am very happy to have Quercus Trust and 21Ventures as investment partners. They have been very supportive of early-stage, disruptive, and clean technologies.”

“Graphene Energy Inc., with an exciting technology for addressing energy storage needs,particularly for high power density requirements and enabling new applications of energy storage,is an exciting addition to our portfolio,” said David Anthony, managing partner for 21Ventures. “Demand for energy storage is growing tremendously and the graphene-based ultracapacitor technology is ready to make its contribution. It is also an excellent fit in our portfolio of CleanTech companies.”

Graphene Energy Inc. is a Delaware registered corporation, established in December 2008, and is located in Austin.

See http://www.me.utexas.edu/news/2008/0908ruoff_new_carbon.php for more information

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