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Defect-engineered nanocarbons for electrochemical energy storage

Ramakrishna Podila, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Clemson University, Clemson, SC USA

Today’s batteries and electrochemical capacitors, which are the main components for energy storage, do not have sufficiently high energy and power densities to store and appropriately discharge the energy from traditional renewable energy sources or to power long-range electric vehicles. Nanocarbons (NCs) such as carbon nanotubes and graphene are excellent electrode materials for electrochemical capacitors due to their economic viability, high-surface area, and high stability. However, the net amount of energy stored in NC-based capacitors is much below the theoretical limits due to two inherent bottlenecks: i) their low quantum capacitance, and ii) limited ion-accessible surface area. Contrary to the notion that defects are performance limiters, we found defects in NCs to be critical for overcoming the intrinsic bottlenecks and opening new channels for ion diffusion. This talk will summarize recent advances from Clemson Nanomaterials Center in defect-engineered NC supercapacitors, which are now able to reach energy densities of 500% higher than the state-of-the-art supercapacitors

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