Yangda team uses popcorn to make "super battery"

[core tips]

In addition to eating popcorn can do? Recently, in the Environmental Engineering Laboratory of Yangzhou University, Dr. Hou Jianhua, a professor at Yangzhou University, used popcorn to create a “super battery” that can be fully charged within 3 minutes, which is expected to overcome the development bottleneck of electric vehicles with short mileage and long charging time. . The invention was inspired by questions from his daughter when she was eating popcorn.

Why is popcorn so crisp?

Daughter's question gave him research inspiration

With the development of renewable clean energy, research on matching energy storage devices has also received increasing attention. Hou Jianhua introduced that supercapacitors, as a new energy storage device, have gradually entered people’s lives due to their superior power density, stability, and long cycle life. “Carbon materials have become the first choice for supercapacitor electrode materials due to their lower cost and ideal electrochemical performance. The limited capacity of traditional carbon materials such as graphite, activated carbon, etc. largely limits the electrochemical energy storage devices in real life. The application also hinders the progress of supercapacitors as the main power source. Therefore, it is necessary to regulate the microstructure and chemical composition of carbon materials to improve the electrochemical performance of carbon materials.”

Hou Jianhua introduced that currently existing regulation methods, such as the hard template method, physical activation method, etc., can mostly only regulate a certain characteristic of porous carbon, and the operation is usually more complicated and the cost is higher. Committed to the development of a simple, green, scalable method, the precise design of the porous carbon structure to obtain a high-energy density and power density of the super-capacitor, Professor Hou has become the research direction.

“Why popcorn is so crispy?” asked her once when her daughter had eaten popcorn, which inspired Hou Jianhua. He associates changes from corn to popcorn's microstructure. “Popcorn has a porous quality. Can we use popcorn as a super capacitor material to store energy?”

Now this inspiration from her daughter has become a reality. Dr. Hou Jianhua and his team prepared a popcorn-based carbon sheet with a "ultra-high" specific surface area honeycomb structure and obtained a supercapacitor device with the highest energy density among biomass carbon materials.

How much energy does popcorn have?

Electric vehicles can be fully charged within 3 minutes

How does popcorn store energy? Hou Jianhua introduced that corn is converted into fluffy popcorn by microwave irradiation in 8 minutes. The volume of popcorn is more than 20 times larger than that of corn granules. This explosion process forms a honeycomb structure, which can be further activated to obtain derived porous carbon nanosheets. (Popcorn is microwaved and reactivated to form a porous material).

"The popcorn honeycomb structure has an ultra-high specific surface area and perfect pore size. A small piece of material can store a large amount of electricity in its fluffy and porous interior, greatly improving the storage capacity of the super battery," said Hou Jianhua.

It is understood that the energy density of popcorn-based batteries is the highest value reported for biomass-derived carbon materials. The experimental results show that the super battery made with popcorn can be fully charged within 3 minutes, and the capacity after 10,000 charge and discharge is still greater than 95%, and it is highly expected to overcome the development bottleneck of the electric vehicle with short mileage and long charging time and meet the electric The urgent need for vehicles is the main power source.

What materials can make super batteries?

Lantern fried bean curd and other materials can be

In addition to popcorn, Hou Jianhua also used other "green materials" to make super capacitors such as lanterns, tofu, straw, and fritters.

"These materials and popcorn have the same principle, such as lanterns. When they are not open, they are small. When they are opened, they are fluffy. The space for each small hole can store electricity. This is a very Chinese technology. ”

“The best technology should come from life. There are so many places in China's traditional cultural symbols that we can learn from. I want to start with traditional Chinese culture and push our technology to the world,” said Hou Jianhua.

At present, this important research result is published in the ACS Applied materials & Interfaces international academic journal, and is concerned by the American Chemical Society. The research work also received support from the National Natural Science Youth Fund, the Provincial Natural Science Youth Fund, and the University Student Science and Technology Innovation Fund. (Correspondent He Mengfan reporter Qiao Yun)

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