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Tech transfer

ICMAB patent to obtain a flexible electrode receives a second Gold Medal at INVENTICA 2021

The patent is yet to be licensed and could aid in the development of the supercapacitor industry.

27 July 2021
A sample of a flexible electrode.
A sample of a flexible electrode.

The patent "Advanced fabrication of nanocarbon-based supercapacitors" led by Ángel Pérez Del Pino, ICMAB researcher at the Laser Processing Group introduces two innovative technological methods for the fabrication of supercapacitor (SC) electrodes based on carbon nanostructures (CNS)-metal oxide (MeO) hybrid composites. Both technologies show high potential for the cost-effective, high-throughput and scalable manufacturing of high-performance SCs.

The two described technologies have received the Gold Medal at the 25th edition of the International Exhibition of Inventions, INVENTICA 2021, an event organized by the "Gheorghe Asachi" Technical University of Iasi and the National Institute of Inventions Iasi that aims to bring togheter professors, researchers from universities and industry and also of individual researchers and inventors, to share their recent major achievments in the field of inventics.

 diploma goldmedal patent 2021

Diploma and Gold Medal for the patentat Pro Ivent 2021

This is the second Gold Medal this technology recieves, as it was awarded at the 18th edition of the International Exhibition of Research, Innovations and Inventions PRO INVENT organized by the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca.

Supercapacitors for energetic transition

“The development of high performance electrochemical energy storage systems is cornerstone for the urgent transition to a society based on renewable electricity, which requires the integration of a myriad of portable and self-charging devices", says Ángel Pérez del Pino: “Our aim is to develop versatile, scalable, high-throughput and cost-effective methodology based on laser processing and chemical vapour deposition technologies for the fabrication of high-performance SCs composed of hybrid graphene-based electrodes”.

Supercapacitors are also appealing because their capacity to accumulate and supply much higher energy than current batteries with moderate energy density and excellent cycling efficiency and robustness. To get them to full commercial integration, competitive production techniques have to be designed in order to make them affordable. The awarded patent contemplates these technological methods:

Technological method 1

  1. The growth of CNS (graphene nanowalls / carbon nanotubes) mats on metallic current collectors by means of plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD).
  2. Their subsequent coating with electrochemical-active MeO nanostructures through laser processing of the CNS immersed in liquid precursor.

Technological method 2

  1. The deposition of graphene oxide (GO)-precursor films on polymeric substrates.
  2. The laser processing of the precursor films for their chemical transformation to reduced GO coated with MeO nanostructures.

The electrodes resulting from these operations are then assembled with a separator, in a similar way to the construction of batteries, to create a supercapacitor. These methods improve over the currently used ones as they do not require toxic compounds or high temperatures, creating an environmentally-friendly, cost-effective method that would be easier and cheaper to automate and industrialize.

The resulting supercapacitors can be used in combination with current batteries or replace them in electronic devices, uninterruptible power supply systems, energy management units in electric/hybrid vehicles and smart grids, as well as in industrial power equipment. Bendable supercapacitors are also being observed as a potential part of portable electronic systems due to their stability and energetic performance.

The potentials of the industry will be explored at the XRE4S Lab2Market program

Lead researcher Ángel Pérez del Pino points at the exceedingly fast growth of the supercapacitor industry: “SCs market is rising with an annual rate of around 18 % and it is estimated to exceed 2.6 billion EURO by 2025. Therefore, the development of new technologies easy to integrate in industrial processes for the fabrication of high-performance SCs are undoubtedly a National and European strategic opportunity to take leadership in this area”.

The patent is yet to be licensed, and is currently part of the Lab2Market program, an inniciative by the Energy for Society Network (XRE4S) that screens the different technologies of the partnering research groups with the objective of identifying technologies with a possible path to commercialization, in order to impulse the valorisation of the research results through detailed and focused assessment in business, market strategy and IP protection.

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