IDTechEx Research: New Materials Make Supercapacitors Better Than Batteries

BOSTON, May 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --The new IDTechEx report, "Supercapacitor Materials and Formats 2020-2040", sees supercapacitors increasingly competing head-on with some lithium-ion batteries, such as giving ten times faster charging and life after tenfold increase in supercapacitor energy storage over today's figure. Others take medical and textile forms. See which giants now consider supercapacitors to be a potentially large market and key enabling technology in their cars, buses and trains, driven by new materials.

Raghu Das CEO of IDTechEx says, "Supercapacitors will have physical capabilities such as stretchable, biocompatible and biodegradable, where batteries struggle. To meet batteries head on, researchers promised energy density of lithium-ion batteries 12 years ago with most other parameters magnitudes better than even future batteries. Imagine a supercapacitor bus, that stores enough to traverse the city, only needs to charge at the depot and does it in seconds. Indeed, some fit-and-forget supercapacitor buses in China are already promoted as having no recycling or reuse issues from the supercapacitors at end of life - no valuable materials and no poisons. They do not yet have sufficiently long range for mainstream use, but several research programs are getting them there."

"The trick is pivoting of supercapacitor research from flammable carcinogenic liquids touching burnt coconut shells to such things as solid ionogels matched to graphene and carbon nanotube composites. Some electric vehicles will have energy storage taking no weight or space because it has supercapacitor smart vehicle bodywork from Lamborghini, Geely, MIT and Japanese electronics giants working to that end. Expect non-toxic flexible and stretchable medical implants and patches, some as "editable" feedstock, meaning cut to shape on receipt and it still works."

Increasing energy density involves maximising useful electrode area. Here the new choice is hierarchical or exohedral. Hierarchical refers to a monolithic material such as carbon with a hierarchy of pore sizes as seen by the electrolyte. These electrode materials are currently made by pyrolysis of coconuts, melon rinds, wood, pine needles, fish scales or carbon from carbide to achieve various cost-performance compromises.

Exohedral refers to microscopic arrays of materials with wide-area surfaces, notably carbon allotropes like graphene and carbon nanotubes and recently other 2D materials such as metalorganic frameworks MOF in research, including car bodies. For both categories, rigorous synthesis may be too expensive in production. Even carbon from carbide may also produce mixtures and impurities but rigor is coming.

The new 225 page report appraises and forecasts advanced materials in supercapacitors. Analysis by multi-lingual, PhD level IDTechEx staff includes much from 2020. See percentage of new research on hierarchical vs exohedral electrodes, graphene vs CNT vs metal-oxide-framework MOF electrodes. Understand challenges of battery-supercapacitor-hybrid BSH vs pseudocapacitors, scope for increasing energy density, trade-offs of other parameters, appraisal from university professors and IDTechEx experts involved.

The 19-page executive summary and conclusions gives new infograms, technology comparisons, 20 year technology roadmap, materials value market forecast and gaps in market. The introduction explains cost and weight split, power density and frequency compromises. Chapter 3 quantifies energy density being improved by both hierarchical and exohedral electrodes. Chapter 4 does that for the less commercially-impactful improvement of power density. Chapter 5 explains the strongly-desired improvement of self-leakage and, given the huge increase in research on the subject, Chapter 6 is a pseudocapacitance deep dive.

Chapter 7 goes into the supercapacitor electrolytes. Chapter 8 covers graphene being used to improve supercapacitors, some in production. Chapter 9 extends this to MOF and other 2D materials used. Chapter 10 does carbon nanotubes in many forms for new supercapacitors. Chapter 10 explains carbon nanofibers CNF, aerogel and hydrogel adoption with Chapter 11 on supercapacitor vehicle bodywork, tires and cables. Chapter 12 presents materials for flexible, transparent, wearable, stretchable, paper and micro forms. The new IDTechEx report, "Supercapacitor Materials and Formats 2020-2040", references the best research throughout. Advanced materials companies will see substantial new opportunities.

For more information on this report, please visit or for the full portfolio of advanced materials research available from IDTechEx please visit

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