Researchers Develop a New Class of Materials that Can Store Energy Quickly

The use of urea molecules can increase the capacity of these capacitors by more than 50%


Researchers at Drexel University have come up with a new class of materials that can store electrical energy very quickly called MXene, which is two-dimensional titanium carbide.

It works like a battery and can store a large amount of electrical energy through electrochemical reactions- but unlike batteries, they can be charged and discharged very quickly.

The team at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB), in collaboration with Drexel University, demonstrated that the urea molecules between the MXene layers could increase the capacity of such ‘pseudo capacitors’ by more than 50%.

This new technology has certain advantages over the electrochemical batteries based on lithium, HZB scientists Tristan Petit and Ameer Al-Temimy, along with Yuri Gogotsi at Drexel University, used Xray absorption spectroscopy to study the MXene samples and they found some dramatic difference in pure MXene and MXene samples embedded with urea molecules.

The use of urea molecules alters the electrochemical properties of MXenes dramatically, and the surface capacitance increased to 1100 mF/cm 2, which is 56% higher than with similarly prepared pure Ti3C2Tx electrodes.

Speaking on the development, Ameer Al-Temimy, said, “We were able to observe the oxidation state of the Ti atoms on the Ti3C2Tx surfaces. This oxidation state increased due to the presence of urea, which could facilitate the storage of more energy.”

Recently, the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and SPEL Technologies Pune jointly developed a technology for generating functionalized graphene at lower costs.

This process will be used for the development of graphene-based supercapacitors for energy storage, according to the Department of Science and Technology. The supercapacitors will be fabricated at SPEL.

Earlier, researchers at IBM Research came up with a new battery that could help eliminate the use of heavy metals in battery production, and this could lead to a paradigm shift in the long-term sustainability of many elements in our energy ecosystem. Generally, heavy metals like nickel and cobalt are used in batteries, which pose a severe threat to our environment and are hazardous.

Image credit: Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin