Energy storage technology is a big deal as without the ability to store electricity for later use many other technologies could not exist. Some of these technologies are also exposed to extreme temperatures that few energy storage systems can survive. Researchers at Rice University though have discovered a new material to use in supercapacitors that will allow them to operate at temperatures as high as 200 and 300 ºC.
Capacitors store energy in electric fields formed between two electrodes, with an insulator in the middle. Supercapacitors simply store a great deal of energy. The material placed between the electrodes is of great importance, as it is what keeps the energy from being discharged when it is not wanted. The Rice researchers have discovered a new composite material for this purpose that combines room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) and clay. The RTILs were original developed by European and Australian researchers and serve as an electrolyte, while the Bentonite clay acts as an insulator.
When combined in equal amounts, the electrolyte/insulator system was able to be heated to 300 ºC without undergoing much change, and was stable for 10,000 charge/discharge cycles. Such resilience and stability will make this supercapacitor design very useful for use in oil drilling as well as space and military applications.
Source: Rice University