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Supercaps Breakthrough: Phone Case to Replace Battery
5/28/2014

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This structural material is actually a super-capacitor that could store energy in a devices case rather than require an extra battery component.
(Source: Vanderbilt University)
This structural material is actually a super-capacitor that could store energy in a devices case rather than require an extra battery component.
(Source: Vanderbilt University)

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AZskibum
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Maybe for supplemental power
AZskibum   5/28/2014 10:20:09 AM
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This is an interesting concept, but looks more suited for supplemental power -- extending operating time beyond what the normal lithium ion battery delivers -- rather than the primary energy storage device.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Maybe for supplemental power
R_Colin_Johnson   5/28/2014 11:38:44 AM
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 looks more suited for supplemental power-AZskibum


You are right now, since its only 1/10th the density of Li-ion today, but the researchers claim that they could rival NiMH very soon and current Li-ion in just a few years. Of course, Li-ion will have moved on by then to even higher densities, and others like Li-air will be on the scene too. Nevertheless for devices that have significantly more volume in their cases than their existing Li-ion battery takes up, building the battery into the case could become the primary power source. 

selinz
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Re: Maybe for supplemental power
selinz   5/28/2014 2:42:41 PM
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Similar arguments are made for embedded passives. The super caps either have to get higher DConstants or thinner. Making them thinner reduces breakdown voltage. So in the end, you really can't get there from here. They are useful for what Caps are typically useful for. mitigating current transients. Bah humbug. ;-)

 

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Maybe for supplemental power
R_Colin_Johnson   5/28/2014 3:14:16 PM
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Bah humbug. ;-)  selinz


I would have agreed with you before speaking with the Vanderbilt researchers, and they spoke ab out solutions to all the problems you mention including higher DC and making them very thin. There is more info in a paper at:

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl500531r

But its not free. I'll inquire with the author to see if he's got more/better descriptions of how he plans to achieve his goals and get back to you.

Sanjib.A
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My wish might get fulfilled!
Sanjib.A   5/28/2014 2:10:51 PM
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In the mid of last month on 4/18 I posted a comment; the link is provided below:

http://www.eetimes.com/messages.asp?piddl_msgthreadid=44785&piddl_msgid=296886#msg_296886

I mentioned: "...there should have been a technology such that the display of the mobile device (or a transparent screen on it...the screen protector itself) to be able to harvest electrical energy from the solar energy to charge the battery of the device, so that my mobile will get charged on the way to my office..."

Hope to see a product around this idea sooner than I expected!!! But, did they stole my idea?.... LOL

Btw...what is the time taken by the super-cap to get completely charged with solar touch scree (patented by Apple)and how long the supercap would hold the charge on typical phone usage?

Susan Rambo
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Re: My wish might get fulfilled!
Susan Rambo   5/28/2014 2:50:54 PM
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You know what they say about great minds thinking alike...

I hope they get this technology going sooner rather than later.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: My wish might get fulfilled!
Max The Magnificent   5/28/2014 2:59:14 PM
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@susan: You know what they say about great minds thinking alike...

I love proverbs because they so often come in pairs:

"Great minds think alike" and "Fools seldom differ"

"Many hands make light work" and "Too many cooks spoil the broth"

Can you think of any more?

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: My wish might get fulfilled!
R_Colin_Johnson   5/28/2014 3:25:45 PM
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what is the time taken by the super-cap to get completely charged with solar touch scree (patented by Apple)and how long the supercap would hold the charge on typical phone usage?--Sanjib.A

 

Sorry, but Apple's patent is separate from Vanderbilt's work, so no metrics there. The Vanderbilt author claims to have a supercap in his office which has held its charge for two years, but no metrics yet on how long a smartphone-case sized unit would last since it depends on how much bigger the case is than a standart Li-ion battery. If the case is 10-times bigger than the Li-ion batter it houses now, then I would assume it would last just as long in use.

Doug_S
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This can't replace a battery
Doug_S   5/28/2014 4:16:31 PM
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If it stores 10x less energy per volume than a battery, how can it replace a battery?  Look at the teardown of any modern smartphone, you'll see the battery comprises well over 10% of the volume.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: This can't replace a battery
R_Colin_Johnson   5/28/2014 4:36:48 PM
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You are right with the technology in its current incarnation, but the researchers claim that they are improving it enough that the volume of the case could contain a supercap large enough to power mobile devices in the future. Their short-term goal is to rival NiMH battery's density with Li-ion in their sights within a few years.

wilber_xbox
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Re: This can't replace a battery
wilber_xbox   5/31/2014 2:23:17 AM
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I did not read anything about the wear-tear and crack related issues in phone cases or in other structures. I assume that super-capacitor will need to be protected in the similar way that of the current Li-ion batteries.

prabhakar_deosthali
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re
prabhakar_deosthali   5/29/2014 2:39:48 AM
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I am always for the SuperCaps technology to succeed, and i like this new development.

 

The pocket calculators , a couple of decades back commonly used solar panels to power them. Somehow that technology has not been carried forward while designing the cell-phones.

May be a combination of Supercap and solar panel may reduce the load on the Li battery.

Kinnar
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Re: re
Kinnar   5/29/2014 8:16:16 AM
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You are rightly pitched the application of solar panels used in the calculators few years before, but actually the power requirement of the cell phone is far more higher as compared to that calculators, and the researches in the solar panel is not being able to cope up with the demands of the cell phone, but now it will be the right time if two technology can be combined to handle the functionality of Li-ion batteries it will be really a remarkable achievement. 

mogulman52
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Plenty of uses for this technology.
mogulman52   5/29/2014 9:47:24 AM
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I can see lots uses for this technology.  One that comes to mind is on turbo chargers.  Turbo chargers on a car have a problem that there is a lag between when you accelerate and it kicks in.  A short high intensity discharge from a supercap could make the delay minimal.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Plenty of uses for this technology.
R_Colin_Johnson   5/29/2014 12:50:19 PM
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I've heard of lots of uses for supercaps in automotive, busses and trucks, but this is the first high-performance sports car app! Good call. Got anything else under your thinking cap?

Les_Slater
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Re: Plenty of uses for this technology.
Les_Slater   5/29/2014 2:16:55 PM
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Mogulman, you're right on with the turbo app. There is development work already going on in this area. Several companies are working on just that idea, one brief discussion is at the following link: http://jalopnik.com/5855317/will-bmws-electric-turbocharger-end-turbo-lag

Note the use of motor/generator, acting as generator driven by the exhaust turbine, charging supercap and batteries, instead of using wastegate, when full potential boost is not necessary.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Plenty of uses for this technology.
R_Colin_Johnson   5/31/2014 3:42:36 PM
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Hey Les, thanks for the link to:

Will BMW's electric turbocharger end turbo lag?

It explains the concept of electric assist to prevent turbo-lag very well and mentions how supercaps could help. Anybody know how the project turned out? Looks like it was being prototyped circa 2012.

DrQuine
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Two Uses of Supercaps
DrQuine   6/6/2014 6:01:17 PM
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I see two very different roles for Supercaps. First, they can hold the short term power buffer and spare the batteries the frequent charge / discharge cycles they normally experience. Secondly, Supercaps can be charged very quickly and then transfer the charge to the battery at whatever rate the battery can tolerate.  This would allow for quick partial recharges when power is available and then the charge could be gradually transferred to the device battery as you move on so the discharged Supercap is ready for another quick jolt of power at the next available recharging spot.

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Two Uses of Supercaps
R_Colin_Johnson   6/6/2014 7:41:06 PM
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I see two very different roles for Supercaps-DrQuine


Yes, you are right on both counts. These Vanderbilt researchers, however, also claim that their architecture can hold its charge as long as many batteries, plus they are seeking to improve them, thus giving them at least a fighting chance at taking over the battery function for some applications someday.

 

 

 

bobdvb
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Moratorium
bobdvb   10/2/2014 12:33:13 PM
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I'd like a moratorium on articles about battery technology unless someone has a technology actually going in to production. Elon Musk said something similar about pessimism over battery announcements:

"There are potential breakthroughs out there, but we have yet to see one — to see even a single example in our lab — of a cell working at the laboratory level, that is better than the one that we have or the ones that we expect to come out with. And so, my response always, when I hear about, um, electro-chemical breakthroughs, is, 'Please send us a sample cell.' That usually, well that always, has resulted in nothing coming."

The Japan Power Plus 'Ryden' double carbon battery is perhaps the best thing I've seen in a while but since they made their announcement about going to production in May I've seen nothing!

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Moratorium
R_Colin_Johnson   10/2/2014 1:12:23 PM
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Yes, I agree that 99 percent of new battery and energy storage technologies never make it to market. One reason is that the existing battery technologies are a moving target--always getting better. By the time a lab demo is fully optimized and ready for production--often a 5 year process--the existing batteries have improved even more. It would be hard to enforce a moratorium, however, because batteries and other energy storage technologies, such as supercaps, have become such an important technology to our modern mobile society. Supercaps, for instance, are being used in many applications today where they work better than existing battery technologies, such as regenerative brakes.

bobdvb
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Re: Moratorium
bobdvb   10/3/2014 8:13:23 AM
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That saying it is fun to see the videos on YouTube of the guy who replaced his car battery with a supercap....

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: Moratorium
R_Colin_Johnson   10/3/2014 2:54:24 PM
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Haven't seen that one. Many commercial vehicles are using supercaps for regenerative brakes, Mazda is starting to use them in consumer vehicles. Supercap makers claim they are extending retention times to match batteries.

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