Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) is embarking on a project to 3D print super batteries from graphene ink. Graphene has been widely talked about in terms of its suitability for use in batteries, due to its impressive conductivity, but scientists have struggled with the fact it also has a relatively small surface area, which affects capacity.
But with 3D printing, where layers of graphene are assembled on top of one another, scientists seem to have resolved the issue of maximizing surface area. Researchers at MMU are analyzing techniques for printing with conductive graphene ink, in order to try and create batteries, super-capacitors and other energy storage devices.
"We're trying to achieve a conductive ink that blends the fantastic properties of graphene with the ease of use of 3D printing to be manipulated into a structure that's beneficial for batteries and super-capacitors," explains Craig Banks, a professor of electrochemical and nanotechnology and leader of the three and a half-year project.
The batteries and super-capacitors would be used to power phones and tablets, or for solar, wind and wave power storage. "Energy storage systems (ESS) are critical to address climate change and, as clean energy is generated through a variety of ways, an efficient way to store this energy is required," says Banks. "Lithium and sodium ion batteries and super/ultra-capacitors are promising approaches to achieve this.