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CCTO supercapacitors to make electric cars more efficient

Posted: 23 Jan 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:supercapacitors  calcium-copper-titanate  storage  electric vehicles 

Electric vehicles may soon become more efficient, thanks to supercapacitors that are capable of storing far greater charge in a much smaller package.

A team of researchers at Texas State University (TSU), led by Raghvendra Pandey, are researching the possibility of fabricating a new class of high heat-tolerant electronics that would employ supercapacitors made from a material called calcium-copper-titanate (CCTO) and serve as a practical energy-storage material.

"Efficient, high-speed, high-density energy storage is important to many fields, and supercapacitors offer this," the researchers said. "Fields such as 'green' energy and electric vehicles could benefit immediately from the use of these materials."

Pandey showed that in CCTO two properties of fundamental importance for the efficiency of a capacitor device are tightly linked.

The first property, called permittivity, is the physical property of the capacitor material that allows it to store energy– with higher permittivity values representing a better capacitor.

The second property, called loss tangent "has to do with how efficiently energy can be moved into and out of the capacitor, that is, how much is lost in the process to inefficiency."

"When the loss tangent is high," explained Pandey, "the capacitor is 'leaky' and it cannot hold a stored charge for more than a few seconds."

Researchers found that permittivity and loss tangent increased or decreased in tandem in CCTO. The research team demonstrated that CCTO supercapacitors should be capable of achieving high permittivity while maintaining low loss tangent, which would make them suitable for storing energy at the desired levels for many industrial applications.

"Devices using CCTO supercapacitors could compete with similar devices currently in use and could operate at much higher temperatures than standard silicon circuits, "more like the temperature in an engine."

The article, "Applications of CCTO supercapacitor in energy storage and electronics" has appeared in the journal AIP Advances.

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