Supercapacitors have found a myriad of uses due to their ability to rapidly charge and then deliver the power efficiently. Currently, production of supercapacitors requires materials made out of carbon which requires high temperatures and poses other manufacturing difficulties.
Researchers announced a new type of supercapacitor that uses no carbon and could have advantages over conventional technologies. The new research focuses on metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs. This material is extremely porous with a sponge-like structure. Since supercapacitors require large surface areas, that makes MOFs an interesting material for that application. However, MOFs are not very electrically conductive, which is a disadvantage.
The team has used a conductive MOF to create a supercapacitor and without any optimization, it already performs as well as conventional units in key areas of performance. By experimenting with other MOFs and modifying other characteristics, the researchers think they can produce superior devices. Although the material costs more than carbon, the processing for it is less expensive, which could be a factor in making the devices affordable.