August 2021 Main Meeting (Updated) - Fraser Hughson on Water Based Electrolytes for Batteries & Super-capacitors

Our speaker for the month Fraser Hughson  will speak to us online on  "Water Based Electrolytes for Batteries & Super-capacitors", after the talk there will be an opportunity for an informal catch up

We will be using Google Meet, it is easy to connect online by clicking on the link or you can use the phone with the details below:

Here is an overview of what Fraser will be talking about

Adoption of renewable energy is accelerating all over the world driven by record low prices of generation and the need to move away from fossil fuels to stop global warming. A big hurdle to overcome in this transition is intermittency, the fact that the sun isn’t always shining, and the wind isn’t always blowing. The best solution to this problem is some form of energy storage. This allows excess energy to be stored during peak production which can then be used whenever it is needed.

Electrical energy storage in the form of batteries is the most widespread form of energy storage as it is not constrained by geography and can be scaled from small to very large installations. Lithium ion batteries rule the roost in this space right now. They are an incredible technology but can be improved; in particular, their costly and flammable electrolytes are something that needs to be replaced in the long term.

Although it may currently appear that way, lithium ion batteries are not a one-stop-shop for all energy storage needs, alternative technologies such as supercapacitors can outperform them in certain applications like mobility and grid frequency control. Current market supercapacitors also need improvement with respect to their toxic, expensive, and flammable electrolytes.

During my PhD I developed a new class of water-based electrolytes that could be applied to both ion batteries and supercapacitors. I was able to overcome the low voltage limitations that plague aqueous energy storage devices to create devices that broke several records in key device metrics.

This work has also resulted in the formation of a start-up company which is looking to commercialise the supercapacitor arm of this research.