Today I attended a talk on Carbide-Derived Carbons for Energy Related Applications from Dr. Yury Gogotsi of Drexel University. His talk focused on his research of nano structures including nanotubes, nanodiamonds, and nanopourous carbons and their application to the energy space.
I was interested in his knowledge of supercapacitors as a viable option for energy storage, E=1/2CV^2 [Energy=1/2*Capacitance*Voltage squared].
The storage means of supercapacitors is physical in an electrostatic field compared to the electrochecmical storage of batteries. The weak link in comparing the two is the low energy density of supercapcitors. Dr. Gogotsi's group has found capacitance and energy density is dependent on the pour size of electrolytes, which is a function of the formation properties of carbon structures. Other properties of supercapacitors relate to degredaton and leakage/self discharge. Things to consider include the number of cycles and time of discharge. Often the supercapacitors can discharge a large amount of energy over a short amount of time making them unsuitable for some applications.