Ultracapacitors Might Have Bad Fruity Smell

You might think the smell of an electrolytic capacitor boiling out is bad, but if scientists from the University of Sydney have their way, that might be nothing. They’ve devised an ultracapacitor — that uses biomass from the stinky durian fruit along with jackfruit. We assume the capacitors don’t stink in normal use, but we wouldn’t want to overload one and let the smoke out.

One of the things we found interesting about this is that the process seemed like something you might be able to reproduce in a garage. Sure, there were a few exotic steps like using a vacuum oven and a furnace with nitrogen, and you’d need some ability to handle chemicals like vinylidene fluoride. However, the hacker community has found ways to create lots of things with common tools, and we would imagine creating aerogels from some fruit ought not be out of reach.

Not to spoil the surprise, but the stinky durian fruit had better power density. The paper claims that the performance is mainly due to the gels having a large surface area and porous structures along with the presence of pyridinic and graphitic nitrogen. The material outperforms several other organic capacitors as well as graphene nanosheets. That information, by the way, is buried in the supplement to the paper if you would like to see the comparison table.

Does this mean we will see cars running on fruit soon? Probably not. There’s an equal chance it will use dog fur and dryer lint.

21 thoughts on “Ultracapacitors Might Have Bad Fruity Smell

  1. Yep, I read about this tech a while back, but it’s good to see some progress on it. I don’t mind using food to make electronics as long as there’s enough for people to eat after.

  2. Chicken feathers are another source which has been proposed. There are tens ot thousands possibly millions of tons of the stuff which slaughter houses generally PAY to get rid of!

    1. There’s also a material, used in philosophick enquiries into electricity from several hundred years back, comes from elder among other sources, but maybe people would think that by suggesting it in the 21st Century that I’m just taking the pith.

  3. “One of the things we found interesting about this is that the process seemed like something you might be able to reproduce in a garage. Sure, there were a few exotic steps like using a vacuum oven and a furnace with nitrogen, and you’d need some ability to handle chemicals like vinylidene fluoride.”

    Soooooo, in other words… This is a job for… Ben Krasnow! 😉

    I’m still waiting for one of his videos to open with “Today on Applied Science, I’ll be demonstrating a Ghostbusters ‘Proton Pack’…because I had to do *something* with the man-portable particle accelerator I built over the weekend.” 😏

    Especially after his latest where “Here’s a functional CRT I made from laboratory glassware and a light bulb.” was just, like, an ASIDE. 😲

  4. lol exactly zero chance, afraid supercapacitors are a novelty for mobile propulsion. Very interesting result but easily explained by the moeties of the heteroatoms of nitrogen and sulfur contributing to psuedo faradaic reactions at the cathode and the heavily favored mesoporous structure.

    Extremely impressive power density, however, mag lev orbital vehicles/ grid balancing maybe.

    1. If you want a bajillion cycles and better power density/volume and density/weight, they still haven’t bettered a dinosaur like the good old nickel iron cell.

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