Clark School Home UMD

ISR News Story

A peek under a hybrid’s hood reveals wood?


Sometimes it seems like it takes forever to charge your phone. That’s because a chemical reaction inside your battery needs time to happen. A supercapacitor doesn't use a chemical reaction, instead it just attracts energy to one of its ends. This means it charges and discharges quickly. Supercapacitors don't hold enough charge to alone power a phone, but are often used in regenerative brakes for hybrid cars, where a brief surge of energy is all that’s needed. An even more environmentally-friendly supercapacitor has been invented by engineers at the University of Maryland: It's all made of wood.

When alive, the tree grew channels to draw water from the ground. Now Liangbing Hu, of the department of materials science, and his team have used those channels to transmit the electrical charge, made even straighter by heating them and exposing them to carbon dioxide. The other end of the supercapacitor is also baked at a high temperature and then filled with electricity attracting material. In the middle, a piece of unbaked wood is filled with a gel that conducts ions. The wood sandwich works as well as traditional metal-oxide supercapacitors, and can stand up to ten thousand charge and discharge cycles without losing capacity.

“Our all-wood supercapacitor is cheap, safe, environmentally friendly and biocompatible,” said Chaoji Chen, first author of the article. “Also, the cycling life is longer and power density is higher than comparable batteries already used in similar applications.”

The work was published last month in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, and was funded by the Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage, a Department of Energy-funded Energy Frontier Research Center, headquartered at the University of Maryland.

All-wood, low tortuosity, aqueous, biodegradable supercapacitors with ultra-high capacitance

dx.doi.org/10.1039/C6EE03716J

Energy Environ. Sci., 2017

Related Articles:
Wood filter removes toxic dye from water
Transparent Wood: Clark School Research in the News
A View Through Wood Shows Futuristic Applications
A Battery Made of Wood?

February 16, 2017


Prev   Next

 

 

Current Headlines

Prof. Sang Bok Lee appointed director of Maryland NanoCenter

ECE Inducts Three New Distinguished Alumni

UMD Risk Expert Contributes to National Academies Report on National Drone Policy

Ephremides leads new NSF Age of Information project

Barg is principal investigator for new NSF information recovery award

Northrop Grumman contributes research funding for third consecutive year

Simon, Abshire, Elhilali give invited talks

Best paper award for Bergbreiter, St. Pierre, Gosrich at Hilton Head workshop

Center for Disaster Resilience Affiliate Offers Insight on Ellicott City Future Plans

Study validates face recognition experts, but shows humans perform best with an AI partner

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar