The low-cost, high-density energy-storage membrane, created at the National University of Singapore
Researchers from the National University of Singapore's
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative (NUSNNI) have created what
they claim is the world's first energy-storage membrane. Not only is the
material soft and foldable, but it doesn't incorporate liquid
electrolytes that can spill out if it's damaged, it's more
cost-effective than capacitors or traditional batteries, and it's reportedly capable of storing more energy.
The membrane is made from a polystyrene-based polymer, which is
sandwiched between two metal plates. When charged by those plates, it
can store the energy at a rate of 0.2 farads per square centimeter -
standard capacitors, by contrast, can typically only manage an upper
limit of 1 microfarad per square centimeter.
Due in part to the membrane's low fabrication costs, the cost of
storing energy in it reportedly works out to 72 cents US per farad.
According to the researchers, the cost for standard liquid
electrolyte-based batteries is more like US$7 per farad. This in turn
translates to an energy cost of 2.5 watt-hours per US dollar for
lithium-ion batteries, whereas the membrane comes in at 10-20 watt-hours
Details on how the material works, along with data on factors such as
charging/discharging times and longevity have not yet been released.
Principle investigator Dr. Xie Xian Ning, however, has stated "The
performance of the membrane surpasses those of rechargeable batteries,
such as lithium ion and lead-acid batteries, and supercapacitors."
The NUSNNI team is now looking into opportunities for commercializing the technology.
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