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Scientists find out a way to store electricity in paper

Thor Balkhed/Linköping University : sciencealert


Scientists in Sweden have developed a thin, paper like material that they have named as ‘power paper’. What’s so special about this paper? Well, it has an exceptional capacity of storing energy. Isn’t it amazing how just one sheet of this material with 15 centimeters diameter and less than 0.5 millimeter thickness is capable of storing 1 farad of electrical capacitance? And for your knowledge the storage capacity of 1 farad of electric power is equivalent to many supercapacitors used in today’s electric devices.

Developed by the scientists in Sweden, this ‘power paper’ has been made from nanocellulose and a conductive polymer. The energy stored in it can be used and then recharged for hundreds of charge cycles. What’s even better is that it will only take a few seconds to have your power paper recharged with power again.

A researcher from Linköping University’s Laboratory of Organic Electronics named Xavier Crispin told that it has been quite some time since thin films behaving as capacitors have existed but we have now produced material in three dimensions and can produce thick sheets of similar kinds.

The power paper material that researchers and scientists have come up with has a black paper like look but it feels much like plastic to the hand. Along with being a look alike of paper, this material also exhibits many other qualities of paper as well such as strength which can be seen by its ability of getting folded into origami shapes.

How did the scientists develop this power paper? While developing the paper, researchers utilized high pressure water for breaking down cellulose fibers, which measure only 20 nanometers in diameter. These cellulose fibers were then added to a water solution containing an electrically charged polymer, which formed a thin coating over the fibers. The polymer coated fibers interweave together with the liquid filling in the spaces between them which functions as an electrolyte. The entire process has been stated in ‘Advanced Science’.

The newly developed material is to set new records for simultaneous conductivity for ions and electrons and has the ability to bring a significant impact on how we store charge in small devices today. Also, with further detailed research, the material could even be used to suffice higher capacity power needs.

This material will prove beneficial and environment friendly when compared to the batteries and capacitors which we use today. This is because unlike today’s batteries, this material is developed using renewable cellulose and easily accessible polymer. Also it does not have to do anything with toxic chemicals or heavy metals. Paper is light in weight as well and waterproof.

The only challenge we have for now is to develop a feasible industrial process for its large scale production. Just like pulp paper, the material needs to be dehydrated in order to be converted into sheets. Researchers think of ‘power paper’ as a very significant future prospect only if they get assistance from some commercial partners.

Let’s see what new technologies does the future hold!

Article By: Dakshita

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05 Dec, 2015 – 11:49pm

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  2. The technology does show promise, though, as the scientists found out that diamonds could also store data in 3D as stacks of images in 2D.

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