Scientists from Linköping University’s Laboratory of Organic Electronics in Sweden have developed a new type of material that has the ability to store energy: Power paper. Yes, you read that right. Paper that has the ability to store power.
However, as you may have guessed, this object isn’t exactly your standard paper.
To begin, a sheet of this material is only 15 centimeters in diameter and just a fraction of a millimeter thick, but despite its small size, can store up to 1 F. If you don’t know exactly how much that is, it is the same as that of current supercapacitors.
To break that down a little bit more: The “F” stands for “Farad.” It is named after Michael Faraday, a renowned scientist who contributed much to our understanding of electromagnetism, which is one of the four fundamental forces in physics. The farad measures how much electric charge is accumulated on the capacitor. 1 farad is the capacitance of a capacitor that has charge of 1 coulomb when applied voltage drop of 1 volt.
Notably, the team reports that the material can be recharged hundreds of times, and each charge only takes a few seconds.
It’s also made from simple materials, like renewable cellulose and polymer (standard paper is typically made for a mixture of wood pulp, rice, or cotton). Ultimately, the material is built with cellulose fibres that are broken down into 20 mm-diameter fibers around which an electrically charged polymer forms a thin coating around.
The cellulose-polymer material also set the world record for simultaneous conductivity for ions and electrons, and that is ultimately what explains its remarkable capacity for energy storage.
The Power Papers
The project was financed the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation in. In the press release, Professor Magnus Berggren, who is the Director of the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University, sings praises of those who back his research, saying, “They leave us to our research, without demanding lengthy reports, and they trust us. We have a lot of pressure on us to deliver, but it’s ok if it takes time, and we’re grateful for that.”