Storing Energy in a Carbon Fiber-Based Electric Vehicle Body Panel

Technology #11614

Key Points

  • A transformative approach to storing energy in electric vehicles using carbon fiber-based composite supercapacitors or hybrid supercapacitors
  • Composites can be molded into one or more body panels of a vehicle to reduce the net weight while increasing the miles per charge
  • Lightweight carbon-based fibers achieve an unprecedented 100,000 charge-discharge cycles with less performance degradation

Abstract

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have invented a dual-purpose device that can store energy and provide structural support as a body panel of an electric vehicle. The UCF carbon fiber for storing energy (CASE) electrode achieves more than 100,000 charge-discharge cycles with less than 15 percent degradation of capacitance. With this approach, an electric vehicle can achieve 80-100 more miles over its existing range. For example, if a vehicle is currently getting 300 miles per charge, the UCF approach enables it to get 380-400 miles/charge. If the range is 400 miles/charge, it will get 480-500 miles/charge.

Technical Details

When fabricated into an aqueous gel-based, solid-state asymmetric supercapacitor, the CASE fibers store energy via a combined electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC)-redox charge storage mechanism. CASE supercapacitors have high energy density (more than I00 watt-hours per kilogram) and power density (more than 2.5 kilowatts per kilogram).

The devices can be converted into carbon composites using commercial grade epoxies and optimized to meet the mechanical properties of commercial (vehicle) grade carbon composites. With their high tensile strength and impact energy, the composites are moldable as the body panels of electric cars that are safe from fire hazards and toxic material leakage in the event of an accident. They also offer more protection than aluminum or steel, which serve as only structural components in electric vehicle panels.

Partnering Opportunity

The research team is looking for partners to develop the technology further for commercialization.

Benefit

  • Enables practically unlimited charging
  • Non-toxic, non-flammable and lightweight

Market Application

  • Electric vehicles
  • Wearable electronics