A new kind of paper has the remarkable ability to store energy like a supercapacitor. It comes from researchers at Sweden's Linköping University's Laboratory of Organic Electronics and it has the potential to turn a new chapter for renewable energy.
The so-called "power paper" was made from cellulose fibers that were subjected to high-pressure water until they broke down into fibers as thin as 20 nanometers in diameter. Next, the fibers were coated in an electrically charged polymer and fashioned into a round sheet.
Each sheet, which is 15 centimeters in diameter and a few tenths of a millimeter thick can store as much as supercapacitors currently available on the market. The material can be recharged hundreds of times and each charge only takes a few seconds.
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The paper is waterproof and was created with no dangerous chemicals or materials. It's also quite strong: Just for kicks, the researchers made an origami swan using one piece of power paper.
The researchers also teamed up with KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Innventia, the Technical University of Denmark and the University of Kentucky to develop the paper.
The power paper currently holds four world records: highest charge and capacitance in organic electronics, highest measured current in an organic conductor, highest capacity to simultaneously conduct ions and electrons and highest transconductance in a transistor.
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The results were published in the journal Advanced Science.
What's next? Creating a method to mass-produce the power paper. In fact, the researchers just received funding to develop a paper machine that will output the material.